While nothing’s fixed until the fat lady sings and a week is a long time in politics, the signals and the signs in the media currently all point to smooth sailing for the 20th Party Congress, which will probably be held in November, and will set the tone of many many things in this country for the next five years and perhaps long beyond. This has been a year of upheaval in so many ways with much uncertainty along the way, but the indicators still point to Mr Xi being confirmed in his position in a modern era unprecedented third term as the top leader. The precise terminology is still open to discussion, although “People’s Leader” seems to be the most likely term. His speeches and pronouncements are dominating the media, and given that the usual approach of the system is to provide the people and the machine with plenty of advanced notice on what is going to happen, that is almost certainly not without significance. The top leadership are heading to the seaside resort of Beidaihe for meetings soon, and to make the final preparations for the big event.
Now, there is discussion in some quarters as to whether or not this is the wisest course. The two terms limit was set by the late leader Deng Xiaoping. The explanation may well be that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, and times sure are extraordinary. It appears there could well be a consequence to such a development in terms of investment, and talent flow and much else besides. Economic pragmatism was one of the key principles of the Dengist era, and it created a sense of confidence and of stability that had a remarkable impact on large swathes of Chinese society. People went for it, strove to improve their lot in life and the prospects of their children. It was the key factor leading to the economic upsurge and the rise in prosperity in the past three or four decades. Stressing the ideological over the pragmatic, on the other hand, is not necessarily a popular approach. But that’s the way it is looking at the end of July.
Have a great weekend.