Until last week China’s incoming leader Xi Jinping hadn’t revealed much about his policies or what he stood for. But Xi, who was selected by China’s Communist Party as general secretary in November and is set to succeed President Hu Jintao in March, made his priorities abundantly clear when he spoke in public for the first time during his inaugural trip as head of the ruling party. His speeches before local leaders in Shenzhen, China’s first special economic zone, took place during his first stop on a five-day visit to four cities in Guangdong province that ended on Saturday. The visit retraced former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s “trip to the South” in 1992, which Deng used as a political pulpit from which to accelerate market reforms that led to 20 years of double-digit growth.

There will be “no stop in reform, no stop in opening up,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying in his many speeches to local leaders. Xinhua says Xi had reiterated during the trip that “reform and opening up was a great awakening in the party’s history.” Xi’s trip comes amidst deep concerns among the public that powerful and entrenched vested interests ­— particularly state-owned conglomerates and self-enriching bureaucrats — had highjacked China’s economic reforms.

....