If what you say is true, it will probably be the first time in history that such cronyism, excesses, and state run industries are rationally managed, by-passing continuing goodies for insiders, for the benefit of the economy and the future of the nation.
First, thanks for the vote of confidence about my integrity . . .
China is a weird place. Most people don’t realize that they had a strong move towards a democracy around the turn of the 20th century centered in the southern city of Guangzhou. However, the leader of this movement, Sun Yat Sen, believed that the country was not prepared for a democratically elected government due to the low literacy rate of the population. He took seriously the notion that a democracy demands well informed public - wish that it were the same here (but wanting to avoid a political post, I’ll not pursue it).
In any case, Mao ended up winning the revolution and unfortunately thereby became the political leader as well. The country was doomed to nearly 30 years of horrific experiences in that Mao was focused on the goal of becoming a communist nation and finally conceded that a socialist nation was a necessary step along the way.
While Mao was a great military leader, I have no kudos for him as a political leader (in fact, right up there with Stalin in my book), but even there he more or less designed the one party political system that China still operates under. It is not a dictatorship, and under Deng Xiaoping they instituted term limits for the top leadership (two five year terms, max).
The “President” (Secretary of the party) has far more power than the President of the US. You wrote: it will probably be the first time in history that such cronyism, excesses, and state run industries are rationally managed, by-passing continuing goodies for insiders, for the benefit of the economy and the future of the nation. Well, I’m not sure about all of history, but I’m quite confident about my comments regarding China. Hu Jintao (Xi Jinping’s predecessor) indeed did nothing about these ills. Either he felt it a lost cause to try or he didn’t care, I know not which. But Xi saw this as a direct threat to the ability of the government to function because the general population was losing confidence in the government. Historically, the Chinese are a patient people and willing to put up with all kinds of trials (remember, they have a very different history than we, there are no democratic principles or government forms in their history), but the one thing that causes them to rebel is when they lose complete confidence in the government. This is the reason Mao was able to defeat the Republican army with a volunteer force.
Xi cracked down on government corruption in its many different forms. He has been largely successful. Of course, there’s still corruption, but I challenge you to name a government anywhere without corruption. And yes, there are well managed SOEs that compete against private companies. China Mobile is the largest phone company in the world, it’s also an SOE. Sinopec (oil & gas) is an SOE. Bank of China and China Construction Bank are SOEs. The list goes on. Many of these companies trade ADRs on the big board. But, let’s be clear about two things, first, SOEs are not strictly profit driven, they have the dual function of providing jobs as well as goods/services. So what may look like inefficiency to a westerner is actually fulfilment of their charter. This is not corruption by any stretch of the imagination, it is simply a dual (and somewhat contrary) business function. The other major point is that most SOEs are not owned or directly controlled by Beijing. The vast majority are owned by the provinces. Many of these SOEs are poorly managed and suffer from the ills you cited and additionally, when it comes to extraction and raw materials in particular, contribute to the worldwide glut of commodities which the central government recognizes as a severe trade problem, it is a lot of these SOEs that President Xi intends to shut down. But SOEs employ hundreds of thousands Chinese, the provinces resist Beijing’s efforts to close these companies. Xi has come up with a plan that doesn’t just close factories, it provides retraining funds and educators as well as assistance to families with laid off workers - in other words there are carrots and sticks employed so success is more likely to come, but the pace of closings may not match Beijing’s desires.
One last comment, Xi Jinping has already largely succeeded in areas no one thought possible, According to my wife (who reads the Chinese press daily and also a fan of President Xi and Li Keqiang, the Premier who were both conscripted into farm labor during the Cultural Revolution as was my wife) Xi is now targeting wealth inequality in China, even though China has a rapidly growing middle class (as opposed to the shrinking US middle class), President Xi rightly perceives this as a growing problem with respect to the confidence in the government. There is still massive poverty in China and having a very small percentage of the population with very conspicuous wealth is seen as a detriment to Chinese society.