41542684-China-s-Challenge-STRATFOR

41542684-China-s-Challenge-STRATFOR - China's challenge...

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3/10/10 12:59 AM China's Challenge | STRATFOR Page 1 of 5 http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100308_chinas_challenge?utm_s…309&utm_content=readmore&elq=64ec18b0065248cdabc25bb4247bc585 China's Challenge March 9, 2010 | 0958 GMT By Jennifer Richmond and Rodger Baker China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) remains in session. As usual, the meeting has provided Beijing an opportunity to highlight the past year’s successes and lay out the problems that lie ahead. On the surface at least, China has shown remarkable resilience in the face of global economic crisis. It has posted enviable gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates while keeping factories running (if at a loss) and workers employed. But the economic crisis has exposed the inefficiencies of China’s export-dependent economic model, and the government has had to pump money into a major investment stimulus package to make up for the net drain the export sector currently is exacting on the economy. For years, China’s leaders have recognized the risks of the current economic model. They have debated policy ideas to shift from the current model to one that is more sustainable in the long run and incorporates a more geographically equitable growth and a hefty rise in domestic consumption. While there is general agreement on the need for change, top leaders disagree on the timing and method of transition. This has stirred internal debates, which can lead to factionalization as varying interests align to promote their preferred policy prescription. Entrenched interests in urban areas and the export industry — along with constant fears of triggering major social upheaval — have left the government year after year making only slight changes around the margins. Often, Beijing has taken one step forward only to take two back when social instability and/or institutional resistance emerge. And this debate becomes even more significant now, as China deals simultaneously with the aftermath of the global economic slowdown and preparations for a leadership transition in 2012. The Hu Agenda
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3/10/10 12:59 AM China's Challenge | STRATFOR Page 2 of 5 http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100308_chinas_challenge?utm_s…309&utm_content=readmore&elq=64ec18b0065248cdabc25bb4247bc585 Chinese President Hu Jintao came into office eight years ago with the ambitious goal of closing a widening wealth gap by equalizing economic growth between the rural interior and coastal cities. Hu inherited the results of Deng Xiaoping’s opening and reform, which focused on the rapid development of the coastal areas, which were better geographically positioned for international trade. The vast interior took second billing, being kept in line with the promise that in time the rising tide of economic wealth would float all ships. Eventually it did, somewhat. But while the interior saw significant improvements over the early Mao period, the growth and rise in living standards and disposable income in the urban coastal areas far outstripped rural growth. Some coastal urban areas are now approaching Western standards of living, while much of the interior remains
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  • Spring '11
  • Carina
  • People's Republic of China, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China

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