Party of the Century

How China is Reorganizing for the Future

Delegates at the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, November 2012. Jason Lee / Courtesy Reuters

In November 2013, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) held its much-anticipated Third Plenum of its 18th Congress. Third Plenums, which are usually held a year after a party congress, have generally been used to set the policy agenda for a new administration. More than 30 years ago, Deng Xiaoping famously launched his groundbreaking economic reforms at the Third Plenum of the party’s 11th Congress -- a meeting that changed the trajectory of China and, thereby, the world. Coming just a year after China’s latest leadership transition, the November Plenum offered the most concrete look at how the country’s top leader, General Secretary Xi Jinping, intends to lead.

Most analysts have focused on the meeting’s wide-ranging economic reform agenda. No wonder; the announced economic changes are more sweeping than most people expected and, if implemented, could usher in yet another run of sustained economic growth. The reforms include allowing

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