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The party turns sour for Xi

Celebration of 40th anniversary of China's economic reforms marked by rare dissent

A screen shows President Xi Jinping at an exhibition for the 40th anniversary of China's reform at the National Museum of China in Beijing.   © Reuters

Political anniversaries in China are big deals. This year -- the 40th anniversary of the start of China's economic reform -- is no exception. Unfortunately, for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, an occasion meant to celebrate its achievements has been marked with recriminations and foreboding about the future.

The reform era, launched by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, is over. Nearly all Deng's policies have now been reversed. Instead of opening to the world, China has embraced economic nationalism while market-oriented reform has ground to a halt. Politically, collective leadership has yielded to strongman rule. The presidential term limit, put in place by Deng in 1982, was abolished in March this year to enable Xi Jinping, the incumbent, to serve indefinitely.

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