Technical Analysis

Guest post: Wither China? 10 takeaways from the National Congress

By Themla Gower

The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party has now ended. Here are the top ten public policy takeaways from this rare event.

1) COVID containment: until a stronger, domestically-produced vaccine is produced, nothing fundamentally changes
2) Economic growth targets: becoming #1 in the world is now considered not necessary nor advisable
3) Domestic growth engines: until domestic consumption rates substantially increase, state-owned companies plus the service and manufacturing sectors will have to carry the economy forward
4) USD/CNH rate: for the first time in 14 years, the 7.2 ceiling has been allowed to break – a move that will help the country’s exports maintain market share
5) Party & military ideological purity: all corrupted individuals (however defined) have to go
6) Military spending: more is better
7) Taiwan: “Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.” … “Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed” The phrase originates from debates held in the Roman Senate prior to the Third Punic War

8) R&D: No policies to effectively counter US microchip restrictions (that are going to gut China’s AI efforts) were announced
9) Urban youth unemployment rates: this source of potential social unrest has yet to be realistically addressed
10) Plunging birth rates: this private sign of public anxiety about the future threatens to undermine everything


The author is a former investment banker and professor specializing in Chinese affairs.

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