CHINA’S GREAT DREAM
Beijing’s new communist party boss, Xi Jinping is inspiring his countrymen with talk of a Chinese renaissance.
Newsweek, December 30, 2012
The first changes were small, more style than substance. Citizens long accustomed to heavily scripted official pomp were startled by televised scenes of a surprisingly relaxed top leadership meeting. China’s new Communist Party boss, Xi Jinping, and six other members of the Politburo Standing Committee were dressed informally. Xi spoke off the cuff, in contrast with his uptight predecessor Hu Jintao, whom many Chinese dubbed “robotic.” On other occasions, two senior leaders called on authorities to cut the jargon and grandstanding.
Then, China’s new top graft buster, Wang Qishan, met with a number of anti-corruption experts and interrupted one who addressed him as “dear respected secretary.” “Drop the formalities,” Wang reportedly told the group. The new message from the top: just get to the point. After less than a month into his job, Xi ushered in a new leadership style that’s taken China by surprise. He has exhorted citizens to pursue “national rejuvenation” and a “Great Chinese Dream,” while cracking down on graft, trimming official perks, and streamlining bureaucracy. At least in some key areas, Xi seems poised to break with the past decade of stagnation, during which time China’s economy slowed and political reforms regressed. If the changes take hold, they could have far-reaching implications both at home and abroad. Many Chinese seem heartened, even inspired, by Xi’s down-to-earth style. But many of China’s jittery neighbors worry that Beijing’s dream could become their nightmare, leading to an increasingly nationalistic and aggressive foreign policy.
Since Xi and his new team were promoted to the top of the party in mid-November, their to-do list has focused on repairing the regime’s tarnished image.
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