Meet the New (Same as the Old) Boss

In October, China’s Communist Party will unveil changes in its leadership—except at the very top. Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term as General Secretary of the Party, state President, and Chair of the Central Military Commission. That fact alone—Xi’s continuity in power—will dominate coverage of the event, and be the focus of international reaction.

Other critical questions include:
• Does the makeup of the new leadership below Xi point to greater pushback against his policies or a consolidation of his authority?
• Will political priorities continue to dominate policymaking, or will newly appointed technocrats be able to shift the system to focus more on economic performance?
• Will these technocrats be able to change China’s highly restrictive approach to COVID-19 containment?
• Will changes in China’s foreign policy approach and relations with the West emerge once the Congress comes to an end?
For investors and corporates, the media narratives surrounding the 20th Party Congress will be just as important as the leadership changes themselves, as conservatism and continuity of leadership and policy under Xi will be seen as negative signals for markets and for China’s medium-term economic trajectory.

Posted September 29, 2022
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