CHINA: 19th party congress and beyond

What are the key takeaways from the 19th Party Congress?

Qinwei WANG: Overall, the results of 19th Party Congress were better than our expectations, with a clearer direction set out for the country, and the implication that power has been more strongly consolidated, though in line with the direction that we had forecast. Xi’s name and thoughts about how to achieve the Chinese ‘Dream’ were written into the Party constitution, implying that he has reached the same historical positioning as Deng and Mao. The new decision-making bodies, including the Politburo and the Standing Committee, both showed a clear bias towards Xi’s position. On the positive side, this could help improve implementation of policy and reform measures, particularly in some tough areas.

The strong consolidation perhaps also reflects consistent agreement with and support of Xi’s blueprint for the country’s future, at least from inside the Party. We saw clarification about and reaffirmation of the country’s direction initiated in recent years: with China entering a “NEW ERA”, the key task is to address the structural problem between “unbalanced and inadequate development” (supply-side) with the “people’s ever-growing need for a better life” (demand-side), rather than just to pursue material prosperity. Therefore, the top priority is shifting from ‘Growth towards Quality’, and the means to achieve this is to “deepen reforms”.

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