China’s ‘conservative’ new leadership not expected to push for drastic reform: WP

Beijing, Nov 16: The near future of China appears bleak for drastic reform, politically, socially and economically, as the new leadership formed after once-a-decade power transition is not expected to push for them, according to a report.

The new leadership is filled with older and conservative leaders that appear unlikely to take the drastic action needed to tackle pressing issues like social unrest, environmental degradation and corruption.

“I am extremely disappointed by how conservatively dominated this Standing Committee is,” Du Guang, a retired professor at the Central Party School, said.

“This moment of transition had offered hope of a new direction to many”, he said, adding: “but instead, it simply looks like a continuation of the past.”

According to the Washington Post, the first and most pressing issue the new leaders will tackle is China’s slowing and hamstrung economy.

The party has long said its goal is to wean the country off its dependence on investment growth and exports while increasing domestic consumption. But changing policies could prove difficult, requiring a host of reforms – such as allowing interest rates to rise and letting China’s currency float freely – that party leaders have long resisted, the report said.

Equally difficult will be disassembling industries monopolized by state-owned enterprises, given the vested interest of high-level officials, it added.

The leaders tapped on Thursday also might not be the best fit for those problems.

Although incoming premier Li Keqiang has economic training, many economists were rooting for a more prominent role in that area for Wang Qishan, who has deep experience and understanding of Western economies and leaders.

Wang, nicknamed the “fireman” for his reputation of taking efficient, decisive action on thorny problems, was elevated to the Standing Committee, but he was put in charge of inner-party discipline.

According to the report, he could play a vital role, however, by tackling the rampant corruption among China’s officials.

Such corruption, leaders have acknowledged throughout the past week, is a top problem threatening the party’s authority and future, especially in light of recent scandals over massive fortunes amassed by leaders’ families.

The new leaders also might prove less beholden, at least superficially, to China’s old ideology, it added. (ANI)