Global Economics Monthly: Crossing the River, Carrying Stones
February 25, 2013
China’s lengthy leadership transition is finally nearing its end. Having assumed top posts in the Communist Party last November, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will take over the helm of government early next month when they are confirmed by the National People’s Congress as president and premier, respectively. Expectations are high that Xi and Li will set an early course toward economic reform to cope with the many imbalances in the Chinese economy and structural impediments to sustained growth, including an aging population, a looming “middle-income trap,” and environmental degradation. But even as the economic headwinds themselves get stronger, the new leadership faces for-midable institutional obstacles to reform, including a proliferation of economic actors, which could sink even their most determined efforts. Whether Beijing’s new leaders have the skills and fortitude to navigate these choppier waters is a matter of enormous significance not only to Chinese citizens but to the rest of the world as well.