Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Under Xi, Economic Reform Slipping Down China's To-Do List

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Under Xi, Economic Reform Slipping Down China's To-Do List

Article excerpt

"Will the economic reforms and open-door policies stay on track?"

In recent times, such concerns have been whispered more often in China. It seems the diplomatic policies taken by the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping are diverging from the path laid out by Deng Xiaoping.

For more than 30 years, China's reform and open-door policies (see below) have been its immovable basic policy. This policy, which has given top priority to economic growth and sought cooperative diplomatic relations with every nation, has been instrumental in the emergence of a powerful China.

Even Xi, who has embraced the political style of Mao Zedong, has declared that economic reforms must continue and will be deepened. Recently, a statue of Deng was erected in the Central Party School, an education institution that trains officials for the Communist Party of China.

However, intellectuals I have spoken to in Beijing voiced a chorus of concern that "China's open-door policies are at risk." The Xi administration's self-justified diplomatic approach, coupled with a rise in its nationalistic speech and behavior, even seems to show signs of an economic decline in the country and isolation from the rest of the world.

A typical example of this was the military parade held on Sept. 3 to mark the 70th anniversary of China's "victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan." This event had a strong tinge of anti-Japan sentiment.

"China-Japan relations are extremely important for China's economic development," a Communist Party source said. "It would have been impossible to hold such a parade in the past, including during the days under the administration of Jiang Zemin, which frequently produced anti-Japan remarks and actions."

China's unilateral actions in recent years, such as its establishment of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea in 2013 and its reclamation work on rock reefs in the South China Sea, stem from the same origin -- its inclination to think about nothing but China's own interests.

Water and oil

In autumn of 2012, Xi became the top leader of the Chinese Communist Party, making himself the first figure to reach the position without being appointed by Deng as a successor, since the reforms and open-door policies were adopted.

In terms of international power at the time of its launch, Xi's administration was probably the strongest in Chinese history. China had already become the second-largest economy as the world struggled to overcome the aftereffects of the so-called Lehman shock. …

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