Image Credit: @jefflundblad
Zhu Rongji, former Chinese Premier and widely lauded architect of China’s economic reforms of the late 90’s has published a new book, according to the Global Times. The timing of the book’s release could be intended to influence government policy ahead of the upcoming Third Plenum of the Communist Party, scheduled in September or October.
With a slowing economy, a looming financial crises brought on by reckless lending on behalf of state-run banks, and amid a dim global economic environment, China’s economic future is murkier than ever. The status quo can clearly no longer be maintained. In many respects, China’s current economic situation mirrors that of the late 90’s; then, as now, analysts poured over mountains of economic data, building the case that China’s economy was on the brink of collapse. Zhu Rongji is credited by many with strong-arming the establishment, and forcing the closure and restructuring of state-owned enterprises, which led to an estimated 60 million people losing their jobs. Though perhaps not as liberal-minded as many make him out to be, the outspoken Zhu furthered the reforms set into motion by Deng Xiaoping and aided China’s ascension into the WTO in 2001.
As China’s economic problems mount, President Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are attempting to cast themselves as the true successors to the Deng-Zhu legacy. In keeping with tradition, the Xi-Li administration will announce a slew of economic reforms at the Third Plenum. It seems Zhu Rongji is rather popular these days, from an overly-enthusiastic Op-ed published in the Observer to many of his protégés finding their way into the new leadership. It is said that Zhu’s previous books sold over 6 million copies. The new book is expected to sell over a million copies.