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Don’t Be Fooled by China’s Third Plenum

With a key gathering of senior Chinese leaders set for this month, most China watchers in the West are focusing on what may or may not be included in the final policy communiqué. But past experience shows that statements about ideology and governance will carry far more weight than specific reform proposals.

NEW HAVEN – In the so-called Third Plenum to be held on July 15-18, China’s senior leadership will have an opportunity to establish the broad outlines of a policy framework that could reshape the country’s course for the next several years. Don’t count on it. There is good reason to think that China watchers in the West have unrealistic expectations of what is to come.