A TURN­ING POINT

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT: INTERNATIONAL -

This is what it smells and looks like in the coun­try that’s widely re­garded as the big­gest eco­nomic mir­a­cle of the glob­alised world.

No po­lit­i­cal event or cor­rup­tion scan­dal of the re­cent past has gen­er­ated as much pub­lic at­ten­tion as this win­ter’s en­vi­ron­men­tal cri­sis. Chi­nese blog­gers are on a ram­page, and even the most loyal government news­pa­pers are ex­am­in­ing ev­ery as­pect of the cri­sis and at­tack­ing those re­spon­si­ble for con­di­tions in China with un­prece­dented fe­roc­ity. The fury over toxic air, food and drink­ing water marks a po­lit­i­cal turn­ing point.

On 5 March, China’s Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress con­vened in Bei­jing. It is in­tended as a corona­tion cer­e­mony of sorts for the new pres­i­dent and his pre­mier ‒ Xi Jin­ping, 59, named head of the Com­mu­nist Party in Novem­ber, and econ­o­mist Li Ke­qiang, 57.

The bur­den of their projects is over­whelm­ing. The new lead­er­ship wants to trans­form China from a pri­mar­ily agrar­ian and in­dus­trial coun­try into a high-tech and ser­vice na­tion. At the same time, it in­tends to boost aff lu­ence and pro­mote urbanisation in or­der to come to grips with the coun­try’s wealth dis­par­ity and pop­u­la­tion

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