What messages China’s 5.2% growth has revealed
Published: Jan 17, 2024 08:33 PM
Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

China's GDP expanded 5.2 percent year on year in 2023. Although it was lower than the initial expectations of a strong post-pandemic rebound, I believe the overall outcome of the Chinese economy is very positive in 2023, considering the real estate bubble in China. Moreover, in comparison with other major economies in the world, this achievement is also very impressive.

The key lies in this year. If there is another five percent growth in 2024, it means that the actual increase in our economy will be even greater. We should strive for the goal, which is that this year's GDP growth will not be lower than last year's.

The main problems of the Chinese economy were fully exposed last year. We faced many challenges last year, but we also accumulated experience and energy so that we can make precise moves and mobilize various positive factors in society to the maximum extent this year.

China has the ability to mitigate the negative effects of its problems and prevent a "free fall." On Wednesday, the National Bureau of Statistics simultaneously released population data, showing that the aging population and the problems it causes continue to ferment. China does have a serious population problem, but it is far from "free falling." The adjustment of the national population policy is acting as a barrier. Those policies have not been implemented for a long time, and the supporting policies are still being discussed, formulated and promoted. I am optimistic that China's new policies will gradually improve, release energy to slow down the population decline and ultimately achieve a soft landing for this problem. We should have rational hope for this possibility and take prompt action.

COVID-19 has caused damage to the Chinese economy in recent years. The fact is that the economic situation is not good around the world. The United Nations has a bleak outlook for 2024, forecasting that global economic growth will drop to only 2.4 percent, lower than the pre-pandemic growth rate of three percent. China will definitely stand significantly above the global average line, mainly because the Chinese people are hardworking and generally ambitious, with a strong desire to change their destiny for the better. Moreover, all the efforts the country makes are centered on the people, making it easier to resonate with the public.

China is already at the center of the geopolitical game, but under the strong coordination of the country, we have successfully avoided one geopolitical upheaval after another, ensuring the overall trend of peaceful development. Our nation continues to move forward, with comprehensive guarantees ranging from political security to unlocking economic potential. We still have a large population with low incomes and our country is still experiencing uneven development, so there is vast development potential and a lot of room for China to develop. The overall environment is conducive to progress, supported by constant proactive adjustments to address issues. Against this backdrop, why would we not be confident in further improving the economy in 2024 and beyond?

Of course, more importantly, we have the room to do things better and more efficiently, which is worth exploring in depth in 2024.

For ordinary Chinese people, increasing income is of paramount importance, which means that development should ultimately be reflected in people's sense of gain. While per capita disposable income increased in 2023, many employees still faced wage cuts, and there is a considerable number of people facing employment issues. To address these problems, China needs to improve the quality and efficiency of economic work in 2024, reducing losses caused by formalism in the process.

Policy stability is crucial for boosting confidence in private enterprises. The government should restrain specific interventions in economic work and strive to formulate incentive policy. Any restrictive policy must be introduced with great caution, particularly avoiding hasty and rapid implementation.

The economy is indeed crucial, as everything in the country begins with it. It is key to improving people's livelihoods, promoting social equity, strengthening the ability to safeguard national security and expanding China's international influence, since they all need to be achieved based on the simultaneous increase of the scale and quality of the economy. China has sufficient conditions and capabilities to continue its development story in the new era that has shocked the world. We must live better year by year.

The author is a Chinese media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn