ABSTRACT

For China as a whole the main political preoccupation in 2012 and 2013 was the planned change of the central leadership at the end of the Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao administration. As had been agreed long in advance, Xi Jinping became General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in November 2012 and President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in March 2013: concurrently he was appointed as chairman of the two Central Military Commissions – party and state. The main priority of Xi and his new premier, Li Keqiang, was the economy and the ‘deepening of reform’, as demonstrated by the creation of a new central ‘leading group’, the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms to coordinate and implement further economic reforms. This ‘deepening of reform’ has encountered stubborn resistance from state bodies that bears comparison with the obstruction experienced by Deng Xiaoping in the early 1990s. The economy would be the main concern of the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee that was convened in November 2013, but to this would be added increasing concerns about the stability of the regime and countering separatist violence.