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China File: Deciphering Xi Jinping's Dream

Author: Ouyang Bin
November 7, 2013

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"Xi has indicated very clearly from the time that he became General Secretary of the Party that he was obsessed, as maybe other Chinese leaders are also, with the Gorbachev syndrome. Xi Jinping realizes, like Li Keqiang, that there is a need for deep economic reforms—really very important and very difficult economic reforms. But what I think they worry about is that they don't know which reforms could be the ones which unleash a Gorbachev-type situation, where one thing follows another and before you know it the whole country and the whole party system has collapsed."

On November 9, the Chinese Communist Party will host its Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee. This conference will be a key to deciphering the ruling philosophy of the new Chinese leadership, who will run the country for the coming nine years.

According to Party convention, in a cycle of seven Plenary Sessions during each Party Congress, the first and second Sessions concentrate on personnel issues and the third one on policy. What will transpire at this Third Plenum? What will it tell us about China's new leader, Xi Jinping, whose mercurial "Chinese Dream" seems to encompass both a hard-line on political control and the promise of economic liberalization?

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