Why Is Xi Not Fixing China’s Economy?: Explanations from insiders range from ignorance to ideology. (Scott Kennedy, 6/30/24, Foreign Policy)

There were four views that commonly came up on why Xi and other top leaders haven’t taken a different approach, which we might dub “The Four Nos” in Chinese political style. The first is, “He doesn’t know.” Some have speculated that Xi is being kept in the dark about the sour state of the economy by cadres who do not want to give him bad news for fear that he would blame the messenger. And so, the thinking goes, they only provide him with sanitized, positive reports. […]

The second idea, “He doesn’t know what to do,” is based on the premise that Xi and other top leaders are well informed but they are facing a variety of problems that are not easy to fix. The list is long—the real estate crisis, ballooning local government debt, the plummeting fertility rate, rising inequality, disaffection in Hong Kong, and expanding tensions with the West and most of China’s neighbors—and solutions are far from simple. […]

The third option, “He doesn’t care,” is rooted in the hypothesis that Xi’s top priority is strengthening the CCP’s monopolistic hold on power and his own personal political dominance. Although the media shows him visiting factories and holding discussion sessions on various economic challenges, his own daily schedule may be dominated by managing security and political issues, including personnel decisions, not the economy. […]

The final answer, “He doesn’t agree,” speculates that the issue is not Xi’s insufficient access to information, indecisiveness and incompetence, or a lack of interest but rather that he and his lieutenants disagree with the criticism that the current policy line is incorrect and not up to the challenge.