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Xi Jinping, head of China’s Communist Party and set to become president in March, took just made a jaunt down to Shenzhen, a medium-sized city just outside Hong Kong in the southern part of China.It may prove the most important weekend getaway of the decade.
According to the New York Times’ Edward Wong, the visit signals that China could begin embracing a more open market.
That’s because Shenzhen was one of China’s first special economic zones, where a market economy was allowed to develop. The city has its own stock exchange and is home to a host of important consumer tech brands.
It also explicitly echoes a visit made by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1992, to help drive reforms after the Tiananmen Square incident.
According to a local report quoted by Wong, Xi emphasised that China must begin to embrace changes.
“Reform and opening up is a guiding policy that the Communist Party must stick to,” Mr. Xi said, according to Phoenix Television, one of several Hong Kong news organisations that covered the trip. “We must keep to this correct path. We must stay unwavering on the road to a prosperous country and people, and there must be new pioneering.”
Wong spoke with one commentator who put the trip in context:
“If he indeed went to Shenzhen, that means he intends to make reform a subject of priority,” said Li Weidong, a liberal political analyst. “That would really be a phenomenon.”
The trip was Mr. Xi’s first outside Beijing since becoming party chief just a few weeks ago, Wong said.