The Moment

China Photos / Getty Images

Peasant farmers harvest bok choy in a field on October 12, 2008 in Wuhan of Hubei Province, China

It would be all too easy to have missed the communiqué released Oct. 19 by the Central Committee of China's ruling Communist Party. After all, the world's newspapers are dominated by the homestretch of the U.S. presidential election, the ongoing global financial crisis and other momentous events. But the blandly titled "Decision on Major Issues Concerning the Advancement of Rural Reform and Development" will be studied by historians when the markets' latest gyrations and Sarah Palin's appearance on Saturday Night Live are long forgotten. Behind the document's clunky sentences constructed from boilerplate Party phraseology are changes that...

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