The astonishing pace of China’s economic development has made its econ-omy the world’s second largest. But this has not been without a price in terms of social pressures, a widening rich-poor gap and such a high level of corruption that outgoing president Hu Jintao had to devote a considerable part of his speech to the subject on the opening day last week of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Congress. Mr Hu said if China failed to tackle corruption it could prove “fatal” to the party and cause “the fall of the state”. These are grim words from a veteran during whose decade-long rule China overtook Japan as an economic power. Western experts forecast that the Chinese economy will pass America’s during the Xi rule.