Monthly political analysis on nations in
economic or political transition
The 18th Party Congress held in Beijing in November appointed a new generation of leaders that, barring unforeseen events, will govern China for the next ten years.
The new leadership will oversee the world’s second largest economy; although, by the time of the next scheduled leadership change in 2022 China will most probably have overtaken the United States and for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the world’s economic leader will not be founded on democratic values.
Plenty of uncertainty remains. Despite the tremendous economic progress that has been made since the reform measures began in earnest in 1992, China is beset by a host of problems. Economic growth has led to a growing disparity between urban and rural incomes and while China now boasts the largest number of US-dollar millionaires in the world, many areas of the country remain locked in grinding poverty and depleted of young people, who have emigrated to the cities in search of a better life. It is important to realise that more than 150 million people in China still live on less than $1 a day.
China’s new leaders remain committed to the idea of a one-party government although there is recognition that if corruption is not reined in, the party could be in danger of collapse. While the leadership grapples with this and other pressing economic issues, political reform is likely to be confined to a broadening of the consultative process. This at least, is a sign of a return to traditional Chinese values.
About the Author
Both in Taiwan as well as in the Philippines, Mike was associated with the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit drafting a number of their specialised economic reports.
Mike has been writing for New Nations since 2003 and regularly covers Taiwan, the Philippines and (more recently) Vietnam.