|President Xi (right) shaking hands with Premier Li|
A prosperous and relatively free China is what the world needs most for peace in our time. Everywhere at all times, dictatorships find enemies abroad when there is unrest at home. China is clearly developing a world class military through diligence at home supplemented by theft from abroad. Keep it for parades. Instead of 1.5 million soldiers, give me 150 million more well-heeled Chinese consumers. Buying and selling create win-win networks while wars are a zero sum game.
Reforms will allow market pricing for utilities and energy. The courts will be separated a little more from the communist party. More country people will get permission to move to cities and have access to social services and the right to buy property when they get there. Couples can have two children if one spouse came from a single child home. Remember this is China where "Neighbourhood Watch" used to mean the Period Police who spied on the menstrual cycle of every woman. The practice of sending people to labour camps without a trial is being suspended. More decisions can be made at the municipal level without government approval. Some competition will be allowed against state monopolies. This is big, comparable to the revolutionary changes introduced by Deng XiaoPing of whom it has been written:
"Deng Xiaoping was a dictator, right? After all, he was the Communist Party boss of China from 1978 to 1992. He was not elected. He ruled through fear. He approved the massacre of protesters at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. But he also led China in the direction of a market economy that raised the standard of living and the degree of personal freedoms for more people in a shorter period of time than perhaps ever before in recorded economic history. For that achievement, one could arguably rate Deng as one of the greatest men of the 20th century, on par with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt". (Stratfor)What's a third plenary: It's a meeting of a governing body as a whole in the third year of its rule. The catholic church had one in Baltimore. It's a big deal in China because it's the year the political bosses feel secure enough to put out their program, not like in Canada where we expect a throne speech at the beginning of every legislative session.
Added: A cautionary note from Steen Jakobsen of the Saxo Bank: "China's plenum real objective is overlooked: Policy uniformity - which never comes with real reforms and progress. China will not change fundamentally, but consolidate its Communist model".