China Leadership Monitor

What Price Continuity?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Fifth Plenum of the 17th Party Congress in October 2010 sent a strong message of continuity. In economic policy, continuity was proclaimed with the official Communist Party “Suggestions” on the forthcoming 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–2015), which basically restated the principles enunciated in the ending 11th Five-Year Plan (2005–2010). However, this ideal of continuity is challenged by two questions: First, what changes would be needed in order to implement those parts of the 11th Five-Year Plan’s “rebalancing” program that still have not been realized? Second, how likely is it that growing inflationary pressures will blow China’s economic policy off its supposedly steady course? By the end of December 2010, China was barely beginning to face some of the difficult choices that were deferred at the Fifth Plenum.