In recent days, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly talked about reform and opening up. However, Li’s efforts may have only been for naught. 

Most recently, on November 12, on the sidelines of the ASEAN+1 forum in Phnom Penh, Li Keqiang told Managing Director of International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva that reform and opening up are the only way for China to modernize.

A day earlier, speaking at ASEAN+1, Li said that China adheres to reform and opening up policy.

On November 1, at SOC Cooperation, Li also discussed China’s need to open up. On November 4, when Li Keqiang met with German Chancellor Schotz, he said China would open up more and more widely.

When Li Keqiang chaired the State Council meeting on October 24, he said he should resolutely push for reform and opening up.

However, Xi Jinping does not seem to want to go in that direction. Xi only mentioned “reform and opening up” four times in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ‘s 20th National Party Congress report.

Meanwhile, in his report at the 19th congress, Xi mentioned the phrase “reform and opening up” nine times.

According to Da Ji Yuan, on November 4, Caixin reported that the CCP’s “Legislation Law” had been revised again after seven years. It removed the claim of economic construction as the center and reform and opening as the driving force.

In his New Year’s message for 2022, Xi Jinping did not mention reform and opening up, which is an entirely different trend from previous years.

Observers believe that perhaps fearing that opening up to the free world would lead to the collapse of the CCP, Xi opted to return to the Mao Zedong era. Thus, Li Keqiang’s efforts will soon be forgotten.

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