The term “common prosperity” (共同富裕) has long been part of the CCP’s ideological language. Under Xi, the term and an accompanying ideological framing of economic policy are making a comeback. The term represents the ideological core of Xi’s proclaimed ambition of building a socialist society. The foundation of this shift in policy was laid in recent years as the Party became increasingly wary of unconstrained market mechanisms and speculation. Runaway real-estate prices, rising inequality and surging costs for education threatened to tarnish the CCP’s economic achievements.
Despite the Chinese leadership officially asserting to have eradicated extreme poverty in 2021, China’s economic development is marked by a widening wealth gap. The latest policy shift is aimed at addressing inequality, especially after it got even more pronounced during the pandemic. The CCP hopes its new line will shore up its ideological power and boost its popular appeal and so secure its legitimacy among the working and middle class.