At the root of China’s problem with corruption isn’t just greed amid newfound wealth. There is also the issue of rule of law — or lack thereof. Ultimately, the Communist Party in China is answerable only to itself. No matter how much the party seeks to modernize the country or advocate free-market practices, an unaccountable system that fails to appreciate the benefits of fair treatment across the board flirts with disaster.
China’s growth has been astonishing and admirable in many ways. Much of it represents a pragmatism practiced by its leaders that rejects much of what passes for communism.
But central planning and authoritarianism remain key components to decision making in China. The leadership selection process is a perfect example of that.
In China today, there is growing discomfort with this top-down system. The leadership is likely to find it difficult to pursue desired growth while maintaining central control.
That’s the challenge China faces in its future, a future that in many ways has already arrived.