China’s new economic goal

China’s new economic goal
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Xi Jinping sees extending his own power as necessary to ensuring China’s ascent.Wu Hao/EPA, via Shutterstock

After a winter of discontent, China promised a postpandemic recovery and said it aimed to expand growth by about 5 percent this year. The announcement came at the start of the annual gathering of the national legislature, where President Xi Jinping is poised to secure even more power.

The new goal is relatively modest. It may be attainable as activity rebounds quickly but will require considerable public borrowing and spending on infrastructure. And there’s a lot of ground to make up: Last year, “zero Covid” measures and lockdowns smothered China’s economy. Some economists regard 3 percent, the country’s official 2022 growth rate, as an overstatement.

The congress will also centralize more policymaking around Xi and the party. Legislators will almost certainly give him a groundbreaking third term as state president, atop his main title as party leader. He is expected to appoint his loyalists to key government positions and use the congress to reorganize state ministries.

Global competition: China is also focused on raising spending on military and diplomatic endeavors. And Xi has pushed the party to develop science and technology capabilities to reduce the country’s reliance on Western expertise.

The private sector: The question hanging over China is whether Xi can instill economic confidence among spooked investors while continuing to expand the party’s control.

Diplomatic analysis: In global gatherings of leaders, China is increasingly seen as the greatest long-term challenge, even as Russia’s war rages.

Source: The New York Times

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