Friday, 16 November 2012

"What about Xi Jinping's election"

That's the question from an occasional reader....
"What about Xi Jinping's election?".  That is as the new supreme leader in China, the head of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, Xi Jinping.
My answer: "Long predicted; I don't expect anything new from him".
Question: "Fair enough, but what new things would you want?"
Answer: about four:
1.  A real move against corruption.  In particular a move against confiscation of people's property.  This is such a sore point in China that there are literally tens of thousands of demonstrations against it every year; but little done.
2.  Make the Yuan fully convertible. So that it floats and allows free flow of capital in and out of China.
3.  Full media freedom.
4.  Independent Judiciary

And I guess I ought to add a fifth: move to democratic selection of the leadership

But I don't expect any move on any of these, even the first four, let alone the fifth.  Not with the current line up, which leans to a conservative "business as usual" crowd.  Some are really tough-line, anti change. And some are old-line big state enterprise types.  Not hopeful.  (and why would they change?  It's much safer to carry on as is...).

The best of the articles I've read so far is "Beijing's dangerous self-protection" in the International Herald Tribune (NYT) today.  The South China Morning Post has been the best of international press coverage on the leadership change, with regular daily in-depth articles on all the candidates for top leadership. And even they find little of comfort in the new leadership, save that they're going to be a safe pair of hands... or seven safe pairs.... But not visionary.