If you're interested in the direction of the 21st century, clearly the biggest political event taking place over the next few weeks is happening on November 8th. Not, not the American election. That's November 6th. We're talking about the ascension of Xi Jinping to the position of chief of China's ruling Communist Party, which means that he'll be President of China come March. That's a big deal. In their top leader this week, the super-brains of the Economist - where the average staff age, by the way, is 28 - explain why.
Here's their argument for reform: "Ultimately, this newspaper hopes, political reform would make the party answerable to the courts and, as the purest expression of this, free political prisoners. It would scrap party-membership requirements for official positions and abolish party committees in ministries. It would curb the power of the propaganda department to impose censorship and scrap the central military commission, which commits the People’s Liberation Army to defend the party, not just the country."
And here's their stirring and agreeable conclusion: "The Chinese Communist Party has a powerful story to tell. Despite its many faults, it has created wealth and hope that an older generation would have found unimaginable. Bold reform would create a surge of popular goodwill towards the party from ordinary Chinese people. Mr Xi comes at a crucial moment for China, when hardliners still deny the need for political change and insist that the state can put down dissent with force. For everyone else, too, Mr Xi’s choice will weigh heavily. The world has much more to fear from a weak, unstable China than from a strong one."
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