Xi Jinping addresses the 18th Party Congress
Source of picture: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features
By John Richardson
CHINA’S new seven-man Politburo Standing Committee was announced today, with the bad news being that five of its members are thought to be either conservative or cautiously conservative. The country needs reformers.
The top job of party chief and putative president has gone to Xi Jinping (He is due to become president in March during the next National People’s Congress, after which the economy will settle down, believe some chemical industry executives).
Further bad news could be that he is one of the “princelings” – descendants of China’s revolutionary leaders. The princelings are said to favour the outdated state-owned enterprise (SOE) model of growth.
Even China’s “populist” leaders, who are, in theory, in favour of more balanced growth, interpret this as moving investment further inland via the SOEs, according to Dr John Lee.
And even if initial interpretations of the balance between conservatism and reform within the new Standing Committee prove to be wrong, Lee warns that the decision-making process is likely to remain one of consensus and compromise.
Will this be sufficient to address China’s economic challenges?