Can China Adapt?

For example, Yao Yang of Peking University has argued that the Chinese government is able to decide the right policies at critical points, because it is not unduly swayed by any interest group. It is this neutrality, he says, that explains the success of China’s economic transition and its three decades of rapid economic growth.
 But what about now? China is entering a new phase of development, and institutional reform in key areas – particularly the public sector, income distribution, land ownership, the household registration system, and the financial sector – has become imperative.
 Obviously, reform is more difficult today than it was when China began its economic transition. State-owned enterprises, for example, currently account for 40% of total corporate assets, but only 2% of all firms, which implies significant policy influence. But China seems unlikely to go the way of, say, Russia. On the contrary, the accumulation of wealth in the Chinese government’s hands should enhance its ability to press ahead with reform.


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