January 2nd, 2014
09:01 AM ET

2014 is a make or break year for China

By Fareed Zakaria

Beijing faces other serious challenges. Chinese people almost anywhere in the country experience serious air and water pollution, and they have begun to complain vocally. They are also increasingly outraged by something almost as ubiquitous: corruption. China's corruption is masked because of the state's tight control of the media, but the Communist Party is well aware of the problem and has pledged to revamp its systems of promotion and party discipline to ensure that officials are less corrupt and more focused on ecological damage, not just growth.

Any such changes are bound to face political resistance and backlash from within the Communist Party and from some powerful sectors of society. President Xi Jinping has launched an anticorruption campaign, though many in China believe enforcement has been selective. He has also sought to stabilize the party's power by tightening the noose on any critics in the media and universities and even those who are private businesspeople. Xi has created a national security council focused largely on internal security, a sign of not only where his priorities lie but also where he sees his greatest challenges.

I'm not ready to bet against China.

Read the TIME column

Post by:
Topics: China • Fareed's Take

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Joseph McCarthy

    What happens in China this year needs to be watched as this most probably will affect the poor and the elderly here in America. China may well have to quit loaning us money which in turn will cause the right-wing politicians in Washington to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to keep the ever growing, ignominious military machine growing even larger and giving that money to other countries! Let's all hope for the best for China.

    January 2, 2014 at 9:14 am | Reply
  2. JKHHKHKHHHJHJK453255

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    January 2, 2014 at 9:32 am | Reply
  3. JKHHKHKHHHJHJK453255

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    January 2, 2014 at 9:45 am | Reply
  4. Really?

    Why's this article so condensed? Why is more detail not added about each specific problems and reforms? High school essays are longer and more specific than this! -_-"

    January 2, 2014 at 9:58 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      Read the Time column. There's a link for it.

      January 2, 2014 at 11:14 am | Reply
  5. JKHHKHKHHHJHJK453255

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    January 2, 2014 at 10:00 am | Reply
  6. chrissy

    @ Joseph its high time the government here learn that Social Security does NOT belong to them to do with as they wish! And if they were smart they would leave their grubby paws off of it!

    January 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    The coming decade under Xi Jinping will mark the direction of China's development. His predecessor Hu Jintao had been touting reforms for years, but it is only with Xi's leadership that Beijing finally gets to grips with this ambitious task.
    The old policies like cheap currency and low interest rates that boosted exports and government spending, are passé. They helped subsidise the state and its industrial strategy at the expense of Chinese citizens.

    January 3, 2014 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      By rebalancing the economy and urbanising the rural population, the leadership hopes that consumer spending by the country's growing middle class could take over as the new main engine of growth.
      Indeed, the next few years are going be rocky and it is difficult to predict, how sustainable China's economy will be.

      January 3, 2014 at 8:18 am | Reply
  8. Ali Hamza

    The time has come, China must push the boundaries. The tremendous growth in recent decades can be attributed to China being a very large economy. They've been utilizing economies of scale, but now it seems saturated. Rather depending on numbers China must move towards more innovation. The productivity on individual level must be improved. New distinct ideas must be encouraged.
    For establishment, next year will bring improved challenges. With rise of social media, It will be very difficult to keep the mindset of the population contained. That will be biggest threat for them as images of more liberal world will make Chinese discontent.

    January 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  9. ✠RZ✠

    Reckon we might as well join the Robertson clan and go blow up some giant yellow rubber ducks in Taiwan.

    January 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Reply

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