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Posted on Nov 16, 11:19AM | IANS
The road ahead will not be easy for China as it faces difficult times, said a Pakistani daily Friday following the once-in-a-decade power transition in Beijing that saw Xi Jinping becoming the new leader.
The News International said in an editorial that the climax of the Communist Party of China's congress was as "low-key and understated as have been the rest of the proceedings, but no less momentous for all that".
It said that Xi led six other men on to the stage, acknowledged the polite applause and became China's new leader for the next ten years.
"The ruling group faces a very considerable set of tasks if they are to steer China through what they themselves acknowledge to be difficult times. That China has changed dramatically in the last two decades is undeniable.
"It is now the world's second-largest economy but economic growth has faltered in the last year; the economic model that produced such phenomenal growth and prosperity (not for all) is in need of refurbishing," the daily added.
The editorial said that if change is what is needed to keep China on an even keel "then it may be that these seven men are not going to be the ones to deliver it".
It noted that none of those who were considered 'reformers' made it into the ruling group, which is seen to be conservative and committed to the status quo.
Referring to Xi's speech, the daily said that the new Chinese leader spoke of pressing problems within the party, including corruption and bureaucratism.
"He might also have mentioned the widening wealth gap and the gender disparity in the population. Millions of Chinese men face a future without a wife or children - hardly a recipe for social equanimity. Environmental degradation linked to heavy reliance on fossil fuels has already produced protests and social unrest," it said.
"The list of challenges is endless: territorial disputes over tiny islets that guard the gates of sub-sea riches, ethnic tensions in Tibet and Xinjiang, an education system that is increasingly seen to be outdated, a pool of unemployed students and, above all, the difficulty in meeting the rising expectations of an expanding middle class."
The daily noted: "...the road ahead will not be easy, and we wish the Chinese people and their new leaders well as they move on to a new future."