The new leader of China
Next is excerpted from China under a new leadership, a report of the Economics.
But, to most ordinary Chinese, the congress and its deliberations have seemed largely irrelevant. Whatever the outcome of Friday's leadership shuffle, few expect any significant policy changes. For many members of the fast-growing urban middle class, this causes little concern. They are enjoying the benefits of GDP growth expected to reach about 8% this year and a surge of foreign direct investment that is likely to exceed
$50 billion in 2002, the biggest-ever annual inflow. Exports, a key engine of growth in the
wealthier coastal areas, are expected to grow by some 15% this year,
notwithstanding the world's continuing economic difficulties.
The vague pronouncements issued during the congress suggest that the party indeed remains committed to a middle-class agenda: maintaining high growth (as well as social stability), encouraging private enterprise, breaking up government monopolies and respecting private property rights. The unlucky ones—the urban unemployed and the rural population—heard comforting words about better social security, fewer restrictions on
labour migration and more investment in agriculture. But, with China's fast-growing budget deficit, spending more money on the poor is unlikely to be the party's priority.
To predict what will be the main differences in policies between the new standing committee and the old one?