Strong vitality
By Rabi Sankar Bosu  ·  2024-04-08  ·   Source: NO.15 APRIL 11, 2024
Technicians work inside a wind turbine in Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province, on March 28 (XINHUA)

The rhetoric of "China's collapse" rises every once in a while in the West, when politicians and media outlets try to discredit China on multiple fronts. The distorted picture painted in their "cognitive war" against China only serves to highlight the bias that exists in Western media outlets when it comes to China.

In reality, China has amazed the whole world with its astounding economic performance over recent decades, building experience that is benefitting many other members of the Global South.

Remaining resilient 

Amid the global economic slowdown of the last few years, China has been able to sustain a rate of growth that many Western countries can only dream about. Its economic performance in 2023 was very positive when viewed in the context of the very challenging global economic situation. Sustained policy support and deeper structural reforms have revived its growth momentum. However, since early 2023, Western politicians and media have been stirring widespread doubt about China's economy by claiming that it is "collapsing" on multiple fronts.

If we look back, China's economy has successfully navigated headwinds and is on track to achieve higher growth. According to data from China's National Bureau of Statistics, the country's GDP exceeded 126 trillion yuan ($17.51 trillion) in 2023, an increase of 5.2 percent over the previous year, higher than the global growth rate of about 3 percent.

On the other hand, the world's largest economy, the United States, grew by 2.5 percent in 2023. Last year on August 10, U.S. President Joe Biden called China's economy a "ticking time bomb" because of economic challenges including weak growth. Unfortunately, the Biden administration and Western media looked at China's remarkable economic and social achievements through a clouded lens.

Moreover, in contrast to U.S.-led protectionism and unilateralism, China has emerged as the most attractive destination for global investors among developing countries due to its large market, strong industrial chain resilience, new business models and emerging innovation ecosystem. Facts have proved that China is a true major supporter of multilateralism. As one of the world's most open economies, China's strong trade relations with the rest of the world are a source of its strength and positive economic performance.

Instead of hyping up China's "collapse," the U.S. would be better advised to rescue its own faltering economy, as American businesses, farmers and consumers are suffering because of its tariff war with China.

A rosy picture

As the morning reveals the day, the consumer market during the past Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) holiday embodies the vitality of the Chinese economy and provides warmth to the sluggish global economy.

The huge volume of trips and consumption during the Spring Festival holiday has affirmed the fact that Chinese people's living standards have risen step by step, which is good news for China's economy. During the eight-day holiday from February 10 to 17, China saw 474 million domestic trips, up 34.3 percent year on year and domestic tourism revenue was 632.7 billion yuan ($89.07 billion), a 47.3-percent year-on-year increase. More importantly, Chinese tourists stimulated the global economy by visiting more than 1,700 cities around the world during this period, assisting in the rebound of international tourism.

Additionally, the 40-day-long Spring Festival travel rush from January 26 to March 5 witnessed an estimated 9 billion passenger trips.

Undoubtedly, these numbers are the fitting reply to those Western politicians and media who claim that the Chinese people are becoming more reluctant to spend. Furthermore, the increase in tourism and consumption speaks to the Chinese passion for life and confidence in China's development, and gives the international community a sense of strong momentum in China's economic recovery which is of vital importance to the world economy. 

Global role

Since China's economy, the world's second largest, is closely related to the global prosperity, the international community has keenly observed Premier Li Qiang's government work report, which was delivered at the Second Session of the 14th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, on March 5. The report reviewed the government's work in 2023 and outlined its priorities this year. 

As China seeks to play a greater international role, Li sketched China's economy for 2024 with a GDP growth target at around 5 percent, the creation of over 12 million new urban jobs, growth in personal income in step with economic growth, surveyed urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent, projected fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio at 3 percent, and support of the development of new quality productive forces.

All these measures will lend credence to China's confidence in the economic recovery this year. (In the context of China's economic growth model, the concept of new quality productive forces refers to the shift toward fostering innovation, technological advancement, and high-value-added industries to drive economic growth.—Ed.)

More importantly, all market access restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing will be abolished, and market access restrictions in services sectors, such as telecommunications and healthcare, will be reduced, according to the government work report. "We will ensure the overall stable performance of foreign trade and foreign investment and foster new strengths in international economic cooperation and competition," Li said. China's opening up has made the country highly attractive to foreign, private and state-owned enterprises for business development.

Over the years, China's economic performance has been providing strong momentum to the global economy. In late January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised upward China's economic growth forecast for 2024 by 0.4 percentage points to 4.6 percent. The IMF believes that every 1-percentage-point growth in China's economy will boost the growth of other countries by an average of 0.3 percentage points, and the country will remain the main contributor to global growth this year. China's 2024 economic growth target of around 5 percent means it will be one of the most dynamic economies in the world and will make a major contribution to global economy.

Over the past few decades, China has greatly improved its business environment through stable economic recovery, long-term economic prospects, and unwavering reform and opening-up efforts. China's high-quality development is crucial to the wellbeing of the world. It is hoped that China, as a responsible global power, will introduce more new policies and new measures to accelerate the economic development of not only itself but also other countries and regions around the world. The vibrancy and resilience of the Chinese economy cannot but be applauded.

The author is an Indian analyst and commentator and a columnist for the China Focus website 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson 

Comments to yanwei@cicgamericas.com 

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