“China president-in-waiting signals quicker reform”

Reuters has a piece about how Xi Jinping is supposedly chomping at the bit to speed up the pace of reform. It all sounds good, but after the Hu-Wen administration dashed our hopes so many times I think a good bit of skepticism is going to be key here:

Xi met the prominent reformer, Hu Deping, in the past six weeks, the sources said, in a gesture intended to show he was listening to voices calling for not only faster economic liberalization but also a relaxation of political controls.

“The problems that China has accumulated are unprecedented,” one of the sources said, paraphrasing what he said was a written summary of Xi’s remarks circulated among some retired officials.

“We must seek progress and change while remaining steady,” Xi was quoted as saying.

In recent days, Chinese websites have circulated a withering assessment of Hu’s decade in power by an editor at a weekly newspaper run by the Central Party School. Xi is president of the school, and some members of his brains trust work on the campus in northwest Beijing, which trains rising officials.

“Overall, in this decade China has achieved considerable success and progress. But behind success there are also problems,” said the commentary by Deng Yuwen, a deputy editor of the Study Times newspaper.

“If we speak candidly, this decade has seeded or created massive problems, and the problems are even more numerous than the achievements,” said the commentary, which first appeared on the Caijing business magazine until it was taken down.

Deng said problems include an over-reliance on investment to power the economy, failure to nurture a secure middle class, urban-rural disparities, pollution, “ideological bankruptcy” and, above all, failure to pursue political reforms.

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Filed under 2012 power transfer, political reform, Xi Jinping

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