According to a Reuters’ report on September 16, at least three challenges await the new leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after the 20th National Congress.
Those are questions related to solving the implications of the property crisis, the zero-COVID policy, and the relation with the U.S.
Data recently shows that China’s property crisis continues to drag on and doesn’t know the time to end. According to Reuters calculations, China’s property investment in August fell 13.8%. This is the most significant drop since December 2021.
In August, home prices fell 1.3% over the same period last year. This is the biggest decline since August 2015, extending a 0.9% decline in July.
According to an analysis published by The Economist on September 15, the real estate market, which represents a fifth of China’s GDP, is in deep crisis, and it can only get worse. The collapse has affected not only developers themselves but all other related businesses as well as banks, and it has caused social unrest and small outbreaks. The situation does not seem easy to fix.
The zero-COVID policy is also part of the problem.
The lockdowns, especially in important cities, have caused production to stall, supply chains were cut off, and a wide range of sectors including services, the entertainment industry, and tourism were hit hard.
These lowered the expectations of foreign investors and economists for the prospects of the Chinese economy. A series of foreign manufacturers have withdrawn from China, and it also explains why experts predict that China’s GDP will grow by only 3% this year, lower than the 5.5% expected by the CCP.
In May this year, at a Politburo meeting, Xi Jinping strongly expressed his determination to pursue the Zero-Covid policy.
CNN quoted Xi as saying the Politburo will “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-COVID,’ and resolutely fight against any words and acts that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.”
Xi’s statement shows that if he stays in office after CCP’s 20th Congress, he will more likely maintain this zero-COVID approach.
If Xi is forced to step down, the new leader will still have to bear the aftermath of the zero-COVID approach.
The Washington and Beijing relations and trade war became tenser under the Trump era.
This relationship shows no signs of improvement because the Biden administration still continues the U.S. economic sanctions against China.
Washington and Beijing became even more distant after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August.
In addition, Reuters has reported on a wide number of internal social problems. The suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, the accusation of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and the suppression of religion and human rights throughout China; are other obstacles to Washington’s unwillingness to improve relations with the Chinese regime.
This will be another big challenge that CCP leaders will have to face in the new term.