For all of the political, social and economic issues roiling China’s 1.3 billion people, the central government anointed a slate of leaders who are comfortable with the way things are.
The Chinese Communist Party’s new general secretary is Xi Jinping, who will lead the nation with the other members of the Politburo Standing Committee.
University of Washington Prof. David Bachman, a China specialist, believes there were better choices than Xi to address broad frustration and anger with political corruption, the sustainability of middle-class economic progress, and the income inequalities between rural and urban life.
Xi and his colleagues share what amounts to a political and economic heritage they very much want to protect. Political, legal and economic liberalization have their limits for these so-called princelings.
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Holding onto power is a priority for those who grew up at the top of a party hierarchy in a supposedly classless society. Family wealth is stunning by any Western measure.
Bachman notes the upper echelons of the party are also devoid of any substantive foreign-policy experience, or second-tier leadership used to managing and overseeing a diplomatic infrastructure.
With no apparent interest by the new leadership to confront domestic issues of political corruption, the rule of law and economic tensions, the decisions by outside investors get more complicated.
A wealthier China is a lucrative market for U.S. automakers, but for high-tech industries who see their intellectual property and technology as ripe for the picking, there might be greater anxieties.
Xi and others could be in power for a decade. One might argue they are secure and confident enough to promote reforms. History suggests a more predictable instinct to resist change and simply hang onto power.
Dissident challenges will be dealt with accordingly.