By John Ostapkovich

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While our election day is Tuesday, China makes an entirely pre-determined change in leadership on Thursday. It faces unprecedented opportunity and concern.

Longtime China reporter Jonathan Fenby calls his comprehensive book Tiger Head, Snake Tails, after an expression meaning, impressive at first, later, not so much.

Despite China’s economic miracle, he says it suffers from a huge wealth disparity, a deficit of trust in government, a poisoned environment and an aging population, any of which the new government may choose to address.

This is top-down, self-benefiting government.

“It’s a mixture of concentrated power and people using that power, political position, for their own or their families using their political position to enrich themselves and, at the same time, a system where there are very few external checks and balances. The legal system is run by the Communist Party,” Fenby explains.

Fenby says the problems and solutions are well-known. Political will is the question.

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