China’s ruling Communist Party will host a three-day conference with hundreds of foreign political parties in Shenzhen today. The meeting
China’s ruling Communist Party will host a three-day conference with hundreds of foreign political parties in Shenzhen today.
The meeting will see Beijing tout its authoritarian political system with a state-led market economy as one of its successes, given that over 700 million people lifted out of poverty since 1979.
However, the recent centralisation of power under President Xi Jinping risks instability if the system does not continue delivering economic growth. Observers are concerned about the lack of “fail-safe” mechanisms, such as presidential term limits that were abolished this year.
At Shenzhen, the party is set to promote further “opening up” measures for economic reform. These include increased protections for intellectual property, lowering restrictions on foreign investors in joint ventures and lowering tariffs on imports, especially vehicle imports.
In the long term, if these measures do not translate to raising incomes in China’s underdeveloped western regions as it has in the wealthy east, expect mass political instability. The centralisation of power under Xi and the lack of any real outlet for peaceful dissent—like elections—is likely to present an ongoing risk to the ruling party.
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