Five years ago, China’s Xi Jinping rocked the Communist Party establishment by pledging to let markets play a “decisive role” in decision making. Reformists rejoiced as President Xi signaled a revival of Deng Xiaoping’s pro-capitalism revolution.
Things haven’t gone as planned. First, Xi slow-walked steps to reduce China’s reliance on runaway credit, debt and an antiquated state sector. He prioritized short-term growth over long-term upgrades. And then Donald Trump came along to imperil both objectives.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has reacted to American pressure with a level of desperation that is good for neither Washington nor Beijing.