Xi Jinping’s Pretty Consistent Message

It seems many were disappointed by the speech delivered by Xi Jinping. China’s supreme leader spoke at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Tuesday on the 40th anniversary of his country’s first embrace of economic reform. Commentators had been expecting Xi to use the occasion to recommit to liberalization, further opening China to free market forces.

Some others, as we’ve noted, were hoping China’s President would go further and seek especially to soothe rattled nerves by providing some hint as to what authorities might intend to do about the continued economic setbacks. The two factors, liberalization and sustained growth, are hand in hand so the scene was a perfect chance for Xi to rescue what’s left of globally synchronized growth.

The disappointment wasn’t in outright rejection, more so as commentators have sought to declare Xi’s intentions still hidden.

Xi’s speech will have “disappointed” both international and local investors, said Tom Rafferty, a China expert at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“There’s a lot of anxiety about near-term economic growth and trade talks with the United States … it was a bit of a missed opportunity for (Xi) to at least offer something in that direction,” he said.

I don’t think that was the case at all. China’s leadership, I believe, has been crystal clear on where they see all these forces pushing the country. Xi’s speech was another point of evidence moving in the same consistent direction. As such, on the anniversary of the market reforms that gave birth to modern industrial China it’s current Party Chairman chose to talk about…himself.

By repeatedly stressing political continuity, Xi continued the line of thinking and action that’s been methodically worked into place since last year’s 19th Party Congress. What matters, he said, was that the Party keeps going on regardless of what might happen to anyone else inside China. Charming. They key, Xi declares, is political stability.

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Moon Kil Woong 10 months ago Contributor's comment

We all know that a country losing its manufacturing exporting dominance is in for a tough time. China is no different that Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in losing its manufacturing bases as their economy grows and their labor and environmental laws advance. Increasingly regardless of Trump a soft landing is not liable to be in the cards. In many ways China is being forced to adapt which is good for them. Some pain now will help prevent the major pain of an unannounced and unexpected manufacturing collapse later.

China should change their laws and business practices for their own good, not just to please foreign countries.