China Leadership Monitor

Evening Glow: The Final Maneuvers of Zhu Rongji

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Economic policy reform slowed markedly at the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002. However, since June 2002, Premier Zhu Rongji has assumed a higher profile, and resumed a more authoritative role in policymaking. This increased activity should be regarded primarily as a defensive strategy. It is designed to prevent Zhu from becoming irrelevant at the end of his term and to avoid the problems that might develop if the central government were seen as weak or passive. Presumably, it is also designed to solidify Zhu's position in history. Some of the new policy activity may smooth the return to a more activist policy regime after the 16th Party Congress.