Changes and Challenges for China in 2013

In the wake of a leadership transition and at the end of an erratic year – full of scandalous political plummets, diplomacy-testing activist escapes and enflamed nationalism, one can only wonder what will come in 2013. Time will tell, but informed analysts can offer us clues as we wait. As 2012 winds to an end, fellows from the Council on Foreign Relations predict the changes and challenges to come in 2013: This October, China’s Eighteenth National Congress ushered in a new generation of leaders that will set the agenda for the second-largest economy in the world, provoking myriad questions about what we’ll see out of the country in the coming year. CFR’s Adam Segal predicts continued international concern for China’s cyber policy, while CFR’s Elizabeth C. Economy weighs its challenges of keeping “foreign policy front and center” against a heavy list of domestic concerns. Claremont McKenna’s Minxin Pei adds that China will be forced to respond to calls for greater political openness, facing a delicate balancing act. CFR’s Yanzhong Huang points out that despite China’s highly publicized health-care achievements, reform hasn’t fundamentally solved the problem of access and affordability. Since Xi Jinping took the reins as CCP general secretary, domestic policy has been front and center: we have seen a symbolic trip to the south emphasize the leader’s commitment to economic reform, and have heard the powerful princeling identify the eradication of party corruption as a major policy goal. Also in question are the prospects for political reform – potentially divisive as the influence of previous party leadership lingers. A reform-minded new leader and an anti-corruption campaign both made Sinocism curator Bill Bishop’s list of “8 Trends to Keep an Eye On” in 2013, published at the NY Times’ Dealbook blog: NEW LEADER Xi Jinping has moved quickly in his ...
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