The annual Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) in China that lays down economic policy priorities for the coming year took place from 19-21 December 2018. The effects of the trade war with the US was apparent with Xi Jinping noting that the ‘The achievements we have made have not come easily’ and that ‘the external environment is complicated and severe, and the economy faces downward pressure’. This pessimistic note was in marked contrast to the previous year’s CEWC and when at the beginning of the trade war, Chinese official media claimed that the Chinese economy was ‘resilient enough to cope’.
There are several aspects of the recently concluded 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that are noteworthy for India.
First, CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping has attempted to redefine what acceptable economic growth is in China. The expression ‘contradiction’ is an important one in the Chinese communist lexicon and until the 19th Party Congress, the ‘principal contradiction’ was the one between ‘the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production’ or, in other words, China’s inability to provide for the basic material needs of its people. Following nearly 40 years of economic reforms, this challenge has now been met with China eradicating poverty at the most massive scale and at the quickest pace in human history.
This process has, however, also resulted in rising income inequalities between individuals and between regions in China, and massive environmental damage and health crises across the country. Continue reading China’s 19th CPC Congress: Redefining Economic Growth
Originally published as जबिन टी. जैकब, ‘बदलाव की राह पर चीन’, Dainik Jagran, 12 March 2014, p. 8.
As India announced elections to the next Lok Sabha, the annual session of China’s equivalent of the lower house of parliament, the National People’s Congress, got underway on 5 March. Premier Li Keqiang as head of the State Council, the Chinese cabinet of ministers, presented his government’s first Work Report. This exercise shares somewhat the same level of importance that the presentation of the Union Budget sees in India, but covers a wider range of issues. Continue reading China’s 2014 NPC: Long Road to Economic Restructuring