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China's Communist Party Vows Deep, "All-Round" Reforms


Did the Chinese Communist Party just drop a hint that reforms are coming? The political bureau of the Party said in an official statement today that it will “discuss deepening reform in an all-round way” at a November meeting of the Party’s central committee. Xinhua reports:

Deepening reform in an all-round way concerns the overall work of the Party and the government, and is the requirement for building a moderately prosperous society, speeding up socialist modernization drive, developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, addressing prominent challenges in the development, and achieving sustainable, healthy development of the economy and society, said the statement….

The meeting stressed that the Party must strengthen confidence in reform, head in the right direction, consolidate consensus, and coordinate all reforms.

At first glance that looks like some pretty bold language to deploy on such a sensitive topic. But China’s Communist Party often gestures at “reforms” without putting in real effort. There isn’t much detail in today’s statement, and no discussion of what kind of reforms might be actually be discussed. Still, the hints come at an important time. Bo Xilai’s trial, the prosecution of the highest ranking Party official in decades, just ended, and there have been suggestions that the trial didn’t go exactly as planned and that Bo still has many supporters across the country. Meanwhile, Party leaders are battling an economic slowdown and warnings of an out-of-control debt crisis. Perhaps they should be discussing the political and economic changes hinted at in today’s official statement; whether they ever will is another question.

[Xi Jinping photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Thirdsyphon

    “At first glance that looks like some pretty bold language to deploy on such a sensitive topic.”

    At first, second, third, and all subsequent glances it looks like a bowl of such bland, meaningless platitudes and pablum that even *our* politicians would blush at serving it up.

    To the extent that Bo Xilai still has friends in high places, that’s actually *bad* news for the west. He was an old-school Communist, and the only “reforms” that he’d be in favor of would be of the backwards-moving variety.

    Also, China’s goal of building a “moderately prosperous society” seems so modest as to be almost alarming. . . it’s a turn of phrase designed to either placate the desperately poor or warn the conspicuously wealthy. Probably both.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Bo was an extremely popular politician, and was considered a serious challenge to the existing hierarchy largely on the basis of his populist (and you are entirely correct, old-school communist) appeal. Xi, on the other hand, has no real power base outside of his ability to manuver within the upper echelons of the hierarchy, and is attempting to craft one in an unholy alliance with the security forces and some of the old-school ideologues. So none of those should come as a surprised to anyone paying attention, though I agree with you that it is bad news indeed.
      Of course it is MOSTLY bad news for the Chinese people, who are likely to be forced to endure one of their periodic episodes of internal conflict, which in turn will likely undo much of their progress in the last few decades. With any luck at all, they won’t lash out while doing so, and the misery (and death) will be confined to their own unfortunate country.

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