fredag 12. november 2021

“Common Prosperity”: The Graft That Is Actually Powering China’s Politics

As China emerges from the annual meeting of high-level Communist Party appointees held in Beijing November 8-11, Xi Jinping has ramped up his efforts to be named ruler for life next year at the all-important 20th Party Congress. Those efforts include a program called “Common Prosperity.” This sounds like it’s about correcting massive wealth gaps and giving more to the countryside. It’s actually a giant pork barrel for Xi supporters. But if his earlier programs are any guide, Common Prosperity will not only fail to rise to its lofty ideological purposes but won’t do much of anything.

We will set aside comment on the mother-and-jiaozi rhetoric and look at policy measures attached to Common Prosperity. Thus far, those have emerged only for the “pilot zone” in Zhejiang Province, one of China’s most prosperous provinces, home to Alibaba, ground zero for private businesses in China, and a province which Xi led from 2002-2007. Zhejiang has a lor of wealthy entrepreneurs who might be regarded as having “excessive incomes.”