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Xi’s Dual Circulation Strategy: Can it succeed?

First published: SOAS China Institute 14/09/2020

Two things we know that China’s leaders take very seriously are the use of technocratic slogans to focus attention on party-state priorities, and the implications of the rupture in relations with the United States and other advanced economies. Xi Jinping’s allusion to ‘dual circulation strategy’ (DCS) back in May can be seen as the latest initiative designed to address both. China watchers are endeavouring to understand more clearly what this strategy is at an important time.

DCS is first and foremost a strategy for Chinese decoupling and the continued advance of power. Some leaders refer to decoupling as ‘self-reliance’. It will be discussed at the next Politburo meeting in October, and shape the 14th Five Year Plan to be finalised in coming months and implemented in 2021.  It also dovetails with other well known initiatives such as the Digital Silk Road shaper of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China Standards 2035 strategy expected soon to set out how China wants to set global standards for modern technologies, and the next iteration of the now barely mentioned Made in China 2025 industrial strategy.

So, what is DCS? Read on….