The 19th Party Congress is really the only thing that matters this year. The Greek tragedy playing out in Washington and the impending erasure of ISIS, to name but two distractions, are as nothing compared to the importance of creating a unified front behind the leadership in the lead-up of what is likely to be one of the cleanest sweeps in the party’s history, barring possibly 1966.
The degree of discipline and determination being employed is fascinating to watch (although our current guess is that VPNs will continue to work). Every step is being micro-managed. Party chief Xi Jinping spoke this week at a key preparatory meeting in Beijing of officials around the country, and the message was loud and clear: Socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party is what everyone must support. I think everyone in the room knew that already, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat key messages.
As we have predicted since the start of this historic year, the economy appears to be doing pretty well. And the cleanout of anyone remotely unacceptable to Those in Command will clearly occur. The questions, then, move on to what happens next. Will Xi signal an inclination to update Deng’s policy on leadership rotation and stick around longer than two five-year terms? Will complete control of all buttons and levers allow finally for the party to address some of the fundamental systemic structural issues that need attention? We just don’t know. But batten down the hatches and get ready for an unending stream of Chinese Dream and Rallying Around between now and October. Including this weekend, which we hope will be pleasant for all regardless.