Leading China: Beijing beats the U.S. in making key changes

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President Xi Jinping has engineered some major changes in the structure of the Chinese government, to make it more modern, more efficient and more competitive in a variety of fields.

It is impossible not to contrast the actions that he and the Chinese government have taken with Washington’s paralysis or unwillingness to deal with America’s major problems, which include budget equilibrium, the national debt, immigration, tax reform and climate change. It is obvious that China is ruled by the leaders of the fundamentally undemocratic Communist Party, thus making change easier, a key difference between the two countries (although it is no justification for Washington’s gridlock).

The United States has 310 million people; China has 1.3 billion. The United States has 535 members of Congress; China’s Communist Party central committee has 204 voting members.

In any case, in the relative twinkling of an eye, Beijing, acting Tuesday through the voting members of the central committee, completed discussion of and action on a number of important changes in both the economic and security realms.

A new state committee will have jurisdiction in security-related foreign and domestic matters, including climate change, cybersecurity, financial reform and Tibetan and Uighur resistance to central government rule. A new leadership group on economic matters will generally realign authority over resource allocation away from the state and toward the market, an efficiency move. It will tackle the sensitive issues of land ownership in rural areas, to seek to reduce the urban/​rural split in income equality and state control of local banks’ interest rates, a source of corruption.

Mr. Xi has moved promptly to carry out his agenda for his likely 10 years of rule, as general secretary of the party, commander in chief of the People’s Liberation Army and head of state. It is noteworthy that China’s pollution and rural discontent are high on the agenda.

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