China's conflicted goals: Freer markets, more party control

China's ruling Communist Party is expanding its role in business even as it promises freer markets and support for entrepreneurs on the eve of President Xi Jinping's second five-year term as leader.

Party officials are tightening control over state-owned enterprises and want a voice in how some foreign companies are run. State companies that dominate energy and other fields are being made even bigger through mergers.

Beijing's conflicting goals are raising concerns leaders might put off changes needed to reinvigorate a cooling economy that faces surging debt and trade tensions with Washington and Europe.

No major policy changes are expected out of the party congress that is due to re-appoint Xi as general secretary. But investors are watching for signs of where the party wants to go and how fast.