GT Voice: Western smears can’t undermine confidence in China’s economy
Published: Jan 15, 2024 11:40 PM
Senseless cacophony.Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Senseless cacophony.Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

China's National Bureau of Statistics is due to release the country's GDP data for 2023 on Wednesday. While there seems no doubt about whether China's GDP met the government's annual target in 2023, a new wave of Western speculation about China's "grim" economic prospects has unfolded.

Indeed, it is not the first time to see Western public opinions generally express pessimism about whether the Chinese economy can see a recovery amid tests like a weak property sector and uncertainties in the external market. 

Among the voices badmouthing China's economic prospects, the Western media's focus on China's GDP growth is particularly noteworthy. For instance, a Reuters poll showed on Sunday that China's economic growth is likely to slow to 4.6 percent in 2024 and further to 4.5 percent in 2025.

Last week, the Center for Forecasting Science at the Chinese Academy of Science projected that China's economic growth will reach 5.3 percent in 2024.

The forecast gap comes as no surprise. The West takes every opportunity to undermine confidence in the Chinese economy. The West has shown unusual excitement about the slowing growth of the Chinese economy these days. Quite a number of analysts have forecast that China's economic slowdown means it will take more time for it to surpass the US to become the largest economy in the world. 

If anything, the Western focus and discussion about the timing of China's GDP surpassing that of the US reflects Western anxiety about the Chinese economy becoming the largest in the world, because it will justify the path of Chinese modernization.

China is not impressed by such GDP comparisons. Anyone who has some knowledge about the Chinese economy knows that the economy has entered a new stage of development, which is why we need to prioritize how to improve the quality of GDP instead of simply pursuing rapid growth. 

This shift in focus is necessary because after reaching a certain level of development, the Chinese economy is facing challenges and bottlenecks that cannot be solved by simply pursuing rapid growth, but instead by requiring high-quality development through structural adjustment and transformation.

It is true that the Chinese economy is undergoing pressure and experiencing difficulties due to internal and external factors, but that hasn't changed the long-term positive trend of China's economic fundamentals. Despite a variety of uncertainties and risks, in the long run, China still has many favorable conditions to ensure sustained and stable economic growth.

Many people are fixated on China's slowing economic growth, reliance on the property sector and debt burden, which is understandable. However, China's economy is so large that it has ample space to absorb and address difficulties while maintaining stable growth. This is why even in 2023, which was full of challenges, the Chinese economy still witnessed some bright spots. 

For example, high-quality development recorded steady progress, with high-tech industries showing strong momentum in terms of investment and sales. Also, consumption was a much stronger driver of economic growth.

Most importantly, the government adopted flexible measures to avoid strong stimulus while addressing challenges facing the economy in a timely and effective manner.

China has sufficient policy tools to stabilize growth, alleviate pressure and ensure that Chinese people can benefit from China's high-quality development. Thus, there is no need to fall for Western badmouthing just because of some temporary hiccups.

Anyone who wants to make a reasonable and objective forecast of China's GDP growth and economic development must first realize that the Chinese are taking a completely different road to modernization from the West.