Xi Jinping: 40 years of economic reforms without any political reform
by Wang Zhicheng

The Chinese president has extolled Deng Xiaoping’s modernizations, which has propelled China to becoming the second largest economic power in the world. Silence on the "fifth modernization", democracy, and on the economic reforms needed today. The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party reaffirmed, a guarantee of development.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - In a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, President Xi Jinping recalled the 40 years of economic reforms launched by his predecessor Deng Xiaoping and stressed that even today China must rely on the Chinese Communist Party's government.

In a veiled criticism of Mao and the Party, Xi recalled that the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) had brought the country's economy to the brink of collapse and that Deng's decision saved "China's modernization and socialism" thanks to the "reforms and opening up" to the world.

Deng's reforms enabled the "four modernizations" in agriculture, industry, science and technology and defense, liberalizing access to the private sector and international trade.

This path - underlined Xi - guaranteed an average growth of 9.5% of GDP for 40 years and contributed to more than 30% of the growth of the global economy and becoming the second largest economy in the world.

Despite this gigantic growth, Xi promised that China "will never seek global hegemony" and indeed will contribute to a "shared future for humanity". In a reference to the trade war - but without mentioning the United States - he also said that his nation will not develop at the expense of other countries, but neither will he allow anyone to tell his country what it should do.

Without mentioning the ills that currently besiege the Chinese economy or the needed reforms, he reiterated that "the Party leads everything ... Only by improving the leadership of the Party and its government ... can we make sure that the ship of reforms and opening ‘can sail onwards ".

In recent weeks, many economists had expressed the need for reforms of state-owned enterprises, increased aid to private companies, equal treatment of local and foreign industries. Deng Xiaoping's son, Deng Pufang, had also hoped for a reduction in tension with the United States. And there is still the question of many dissidents who, since the days of Deng, have been demanding not only economic modernizations (the "fifth modernization", democracy).

According to some critics, today's speech by Xi was an "exercise in rhetoric", which hides the fact that the Chinese economy is slowing down precisely because it lacks these reforms.

Almost confirming this disappointment, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, which grew at the start of trading, are down again. The Shanghai index fell to minus 1.2% and the Shenzhen index to minus 1.5%, the lowest in eight weeks.