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Has China Decided That ‘Moderately Prosperous’ Is Good Enough?

China has a new set of economic goals—and they’re far less ambitious than those of past decades. In October, when the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) met to endorse President Xi Jinping’s agenda for the 14th five-year plan, the communique included a little-noticed second item: a statement that China would “basically achieve socialist modernization” by 2035 in order to finally “reach the level of moderately developed countries.” China’s admirers and detractors alike might be forgiven for thinking that the country was moderately developed already. What this vague new language seems to suggest is Beijing’s admission that its current growth model has run into what old-style communists might call internal contradictions.

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Sydney-based globalization expert Salvatore Babones is available to speak on the Chinese economy (demographics, growth, technology), the Belt & Road Initiative, global trade networks, and Australia-China relations. Contact: