Reform pain offset by growing economy

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-7 0:33:01

About 1.8 million jobs will be shed due to the cuts in coal and steel production capacity, according to Chinese authorities. However, Western media believe this estimate will be a far cry from the reality - there will be 3 million or even 6 million workers laid off or relocated, a "lay-off wave" based on their projections.

Xu Shaoshi, Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, was asked at a press conference on Sunday whether Chinese State-owned enterprises (SOEs) will protest and resist the restructuring. Xu denied this would be the case and that there is a so-called lay-off wave.

Given that Western media and its rhetoric are overwhelmingly influential, the Chinese government appears honest and objective only when it agrees with them by admitting there will be a lay-off wave and that SOEs are resistant to this reform. Any denials of their judgments will prompt accusations of a coverup.

It should be noted that Western media are keen to depict the Chinese economy as terminally hopeless. Their long-standing bearish view about the Chinese economy has intrigued quite a few liberals to support the perspective, which compromises the confidence of ordinary people in the Chinese economy.

Xu's assertion is not political rhetoric to appease concerns. He is talking fact.

So far, there is not a single thread of evidence that can prove the SOEs are resisting the upcoming restructuring. On the contrary, they have taken due responsibilities and responded to the calls of the State to fight corruption, restructure assets and cut capacity. In fact, a lot of accusations against the SOEs are fabricated out of prejudice with ulterior motives.

The so-called lay-off wave is no more than imagination. Unlike the 1990s when tens of millions of SOE workers were laid off, this time the number and impact will be much less.

The main reason there won't be a lay-off wave is because China's economy is many times bigger than it was 20 years ago. Now, we have a robust service industry that can employ enormous numbers, a well-established welfare system to support laid-off workers, and an open environment for self-employment.

In face of another round of economic structuring, China is much more developed to deal with possible repercussions without pushing society off-track.

Although the Chinese economy is more tenacious than it was 20 years ago, this round of economic reform still faces some new difficulties. For example, the tentacles of the Internet can enlarge the impact of individual issues, such as some protests by laid-off SOE workers to raise nationwide attention.

A handful of people believe the reform will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. The facts will fail their groundless doomsday foretelling.

Chinese reform has gone through decades of trials and tribulations. Problems might emerge from time to time, but they end up forging society's tenacity and endurance.

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