China's long-term political outlook is the most uncertain it has been in decades.

President Xi Jinping has filled the Politburo with his allies and incorporated his ideology into the Party's charter. This would imply stable leadership in the years ahead -- were it not for the fact that he has failed to anoint a successor. This creates uncertainty about who will lead the country, assuming Xi steps down at the end of his second term in 2022. Perhaps a less-than-qualified heir-apparent will enjoy a rapid rise.  In any event, China will need effective leadership as it seeks to benefit from its growing global stature.

  • Can Xi deliver on China’s industrial policy goals without triggering a backlash from crucial trading partners?
  • Censorship, repression and state economic intervention have increased under Xi, but is liberalisation over for good?
  • Will the flag follow trade as China's overseas economic interests grow?