Will Xi Back His Own Economic Agenda?

Kevin Rudd on BBC Radio 4

The China Dashboard: Tracking China's Economic Reform Program - Xi for dashboard event.jpg

(Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

ASPI President Kevin Rudd spoke with BBC Radio 4 about Xi Jinping’s agenda for China coming out of the 19th Communist Party Congress.

Rudd points out that Xi aspires to two things, “national prosperity and power.” After the popularization of the Chinese Dream in 2013, Rudd explains that Xi wants “a new period of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” a future “not just about national wealth and national power” but also “about your individual prosperity, as well as your ability to pursue your own futures.”

To realize this, China will have to implement the ambitious economic reform agenda Xi outlined in 2013 to “move China to a new economic model with greater emphasis on the efficiency of resource allocation, less role for state-owned enterprises, more role for private firms, more open trading systems, more open investment systems.” Rudd says that “the problem is over the last five years, [China has] made very slow progress” on this front. The thing to watch, according to Rudd, is “whether post the 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping grasps this reform blueprint and puts his political weight entirely behind its implementation, or [if] there [is] a set of untidy compromises of one-and-a-half steps forward, one step back as he is weighed down by the immediacy of sustaining growth and employment levels, and keeping the housing market bubbling along.” (6 min., 19 sec.)

Listen to the full interview here.