The Moment

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Fan Rujun / Xinhua / AP

Xi, second from right, and Hu, center, at the party plenum with the other members of the Politburo Standing Committee

The headline out of a conclave of the Chinese communist Party is that Vice President Xi Jinping has been named to the country's powerful Central Military Commission — reinforcing expectations that he will succeed President Hu Jintao in a transition beginning 2012. Yet Xi has long been the front runner, and, in any case, China is no longer ruled by an omnipotent individual like Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping, but by committee — the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee. The bigger news was buried in the plenum's cryptic pledge to "achieve major breakthroughs in economic restructuring." Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reports that Beijing will invest at least $600 billion over the next five years in high tech, life sciences, advanced materials, renewable energy, even aerospace. The ambition is to dramatically upgrade the economy beyond export-led growth and infrastructure spending. Innovation, of course, cannot simply be dictated from the top — it needs a freer society to germinate. But if it does happen, China will grow even more powerful than it is today. That's the real headline.