Common prosperity: What next for China?

What are Beijing’s domestic priorities in the coming years and how is internal change transforming the face of Chinese politics?

Members event, Panel Recording
6 July 2022 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM

Common prosperity

— Experts discuss Beijing’s domestic priorities in the coming years.

China-centric analysis typically explores the growing global ambitions of the world’s second largest economy and reviews the country’s geopolitical engagements.

From the Belt and Road Initiative to territorial challenges in the South China Sea to unrest in Hong Kong, to trade wars with the US, China is waging a battle, both economic and cultural, with its global challengers, particularly America, for influence around the world viewed in an international context.

However, one must not lose sight of domestic developments in China. Post-2020, its politics have had to contend with a number of significant challenges. As President Xi’s ‘common prosperity’ aims to refocus corporate China on the domestic market, it is challenged by an economy that is experiencing distinctly Western troubles: looming trouble in the form of rising debt and the overheating housing bubble.

How China’s government pivots to an advanced, service-driven economy without too much upheaval will be of particular interest. The country’s zero-COVID strategy is being severely challenged by virus variants and world reopening.

Has the government attached itself to a uniquely anti-Western policy at the expense of broader economic and societal concerns?

While ‘common prosperity’ targets support for China’s growing middle class, 40 per cent of the population still aspires to join the club of the Chinese middle class or a core part of the ‘olive shaped society’ President Xi aims to create.

Can the president’s vision be extended across larger proportions of the population? And as the middle-class grows in number and stature, social attitudes are shifting accordingly so how long will heavy state censorship, online and offline, hold up?

Domestically, China is entering an interesting period of flux. As always, the importance of messaging in China is key. The experts on the panel discussed the following questions:

  • What are the likely domestic consequences of Beijing’s intervention in business and attempts to manoeuvre away from an export-led economy?

  • Has COVID had any significant impact or change on domestic politics? 

  • As variants spread, what next for ‘zero-COVID’?

  • Can the Chinese government keep pace with technology and continue its surveillance and domestic monitoring?

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