A whole lots of green tea leaves to read:
1) Chinese Leader Gets More Sway on the Economy and Security [talk about chairman of the board!]
Lan Hongguang/Xinhua, via Associated Press
President Xi Jinping, center, and other Chinese Communist Party leaders voted on policy measures as the Central Committee met Tuesday [Nov. 13].
President Xi Jinping of China emerged from a Communist Party leadership conference on Tuesday with a mandate to give the market a “decisive role” in the world’s second-largest economy and to consolidate new decision-making authority in his own hands.
After a closed-door meeting of party leaders, officials announced that Mr. Xi would establish a new national security committee — which experts said took inspiration from the National Security Council that serves American presidents — as well as a leadership group that would push through a raft of economic overhauls. The two new agencies suggest that Mr. Xi aims to circumvent the ruling party’s cumbersome bureaucracies and overcome resistance that deeper economic changes are likely to bring…
A year since assuming party leadership, Mr. Xi is also showing that he intends to govern in a more assertive, authoritarian style than his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who presided over a decade of rapid growth but failed to push through changes that many economists argue are needed to modernize the economy…
The new party leadership group on economic policy will oversee the introduction of market-oriented changes, and officials said there would be “decisive outcomes” in major policy areas by 2020. Yet they also emphasized that party control must remain paramount even as China embraces more market forces in the economic sphere.
“Most important is maintaining the party’s leadership,” said a communiqué. “We must be bold and our steps steady.”..
Mr. Xi has accompanied his vows of economic rejuvenation with a drive to stifle political opposition to one-party rule at home and a tougher position on foreign policy issues, particularly in maritime territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines [lots more here]. In what appeared to be an effort to impose greater control over those areas, the conference approved establishing the new security committee…
The creation of the new committee is likely to magnify Mr. Xi’s influence in foreign policy…
2)China to Ease One-Child Policy
Leaders Will Also Abolish Re-Education Through Labor
China’s leaders agreed to loosen the nation’s one-child policy and to give market forces a greater role in the world’s No. 2 economy, according to new details of a blueprint for reform released on Friday [Nov. 15].
The proposals follow the end on Tuesday of a four-day meeting of top Chinese Communist Party leaders, and they represent the first comprehensive road map for reform under new Chinese President Xi Jinping.
While a preliminary summary of the meeting released on Tuesday was vague, the more-detailed document released on Friday sketches an ambitious reform program designed to address problems that China faces: maturing growth, rising worries about a wide wealth gap and endemic pollution, and increasingly vocal criticism of Beijing’s handling of a number of social issues…
The document said China would significantly ease its one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child…
It also said it would ease curbs on offshore securities investments and mergers and acquisitions, without providing details [emphasis added]…
China also plans to abolish a controversial labor camp system in what Xinhua described as “part of efforts to improve human rights and judicial practices.” Under the system, which has been in place since 1957, police are allowed to imprison people in labor camps for up to four years without formal arrest or trial…
3) The Mother of All Experiments in Authoritarian Capitalism Is About to Begin
…To paraphrase Montesquieu, Xi Jinping’s position seems to be that in China, useless authoritarian measures weaken necessary authoritarian measures.
To elaborate on what I think the Chinese leadership is thinking: they now seem pretty sure that greater state control over the economy is doubly counterproductive. It introduces inefficiencies that a slowing Chinese economy can’t afford anymore. Furthermore, they make the Party vulnerable to corruption, weakening political discipline. By getting the state out of the resource allocation business, the market can function better. More importantly, the CCP and the Chinese state can function better by concentrating on doing the things it has to do — provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, ensure the security of the state, and oh yes, snuffing out any political threat to the Chinese Communist Party.
Will it work?..
¿Quien sabe? Earlier:
China’s, er, Hazy Future
Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds