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China Center Quick Take: Xi Is the "Core" of the CCP—What Does It Mean for China's Reform Agenda?

By inheriting the mantle of “core” of the Central Committee, Chinese President Xi Jinping has affirmed his dominance over other Chinese Communist Party leaders and elders. However, a new title will not automatically change the realities on the ground. Xi still faces daunting challenges in promoting “his” people up the party hierarchy, especially into the Politburo and, crucially, the Standing Committee.

This “core” declaration – coupled with comments on October 31 by a party official that retirement norms are “pure folklore” – further muddies the waters over political succession. Crucially for MNCs looking to the future of the formal economic reform process: don’t expect market reforms to automatically result from Xi’s increased authority. Increased political obedience by party cadres won’t change the fact that what ails the economic policy agenda isn’t a lack of centralized authority, as Xi seems to believe, but confused and often contradictory goals and policies, which have led to “policy paralysis” at the provincial and local levels.

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