As the world anticipates the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October 2012, international scholars and specialists of the CPC have been assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the Party and positing a series of forecasts about its potential future evolution. This article reviews and categorises this scholarship. It argues that since 2009, political and inner-Party reforms that had been pursued since 1997 have stagnated and retrogressed, and that the CPC needs to return to a proactive political reform agenda in order to tackle the many pressing social, economic, intellectual and political challenges that it faces.


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