Change in China's leadership 'last chance' for reform
Published: Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, 8:36 p.m.
BEIJING — China risks economic malaise, deepening unrest and ultimately the Communist Party's grip on power unless its next leader, Xi Jinping, pushes through stalled reforms, experts close to the government have warned.
The warnings, striking for their openly urgent tone, have been aired inside the party and publicly, and reflect an internal debate about the direction of the leadership that takes power next month.
“There is a potential crisis in China's model of economic growth,” said a paper from Strategy and Reform, one of several think tanks and groups that throughout this year have plied officials with blueprints for Xi's coming decade in power.
“The next decade might be the last opportunity for actively pursuing reform, and we should treasure this last chance,” said the paper released on the group's website (www.reform.org.cn).
“China is confronting a perilous jump, one that it can neither hide from nor avoid no matter what,” said the paper from the group, which includes academics, company executives, government policy advisers and some officials.
China will begin the party congress this month— where Xi is set to take over from Hu Jintao — with the economy on track for its slowest annual growth rate in at least 13 years, while social stresses, such as ire over corruption, land grabs and unmet welfare demands, have stirred protests.
“China's economic and social contradictions seem to be nearing a threshold,” prominent Chinese economist Wu Jinglian was quoted as saying in Caijing magazine.
Advocates of reform are pressing Xi to cut back the privileges of state-owned firms, make it easier for rural migrants to settle permanently in cities, fix a fiscal system that encourages local governments to live off land expropriations and, above all, tether the powers of a state that they say risks suffocating growth and fanning discontent.
Most party-linked proponents said in interviews that political reform must start at the grassroots and be incremental; they called outright democracy a distant or unrealistic idea.
“You can't solve all of these problems in a decade, but you can address the reforms urgently needed by ordinary people and show that you're heading in the right direction,” said Deng Yuwen, an editor at the Study Times, published by the Central Party School, which trains officials.
He recently shot to prominence after publishing an essay lamenting the lost chances for reform under President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao. He said their successors must move faster.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- India’s governing party trounced in state elections
- South Korea ups air defense ante
- North Korea purges Kim Jong Un’s powerful uncle
- Egypt strikes a perilous repose
- North Korea leader apparently boots uncle from post
- Airspace row simmers as Biden visits China
- Egyptian military granted powers in draft constitution
- Detained vet worked with group of guerillas
- French report: No proof Arafat was poisoned
- Judge says Irish police colluded in killings by IRA
- Protests in Pakistan halt U.S. shipments from Afghanistan