GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
The issue of Ukraine commands the attention of the world as around-the-clock film, pictures and reports from frontline journalists dominates political debate. At the same time, there is taking place in China, meetings of the political and legislative bodies – the People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress – which will focus on domestic China issues such as Covid-19, maintaining growth in the economy and providing policies to deal with its ageing population.
China needs to maintain an effective growth rate, especially in the private sector, to create jobs and drive domestic consumption. After last year’s overall growth rate of 8.1 per cent, the government set a cautious target of “above 6 per cent”. But the 2021 fourth-quarter GDP growth of only 4 per cent has restrained economic momentum.
Looking ahead, these issues affect the agenda for the 20th Party Congress in the autumn of this year but China, with a resilient domestic economy, will have to take into account, as all other countries also have to do, the uncertainties caused by the Ukraine situation – politically and economically.
China’s two key targets remain prosperity and stability. These words are the cornerstone of China’s politics and remain at the heart of the policies laid down by its political and legislative bodies. China is aware that it has made good progress in eliminating real poverty, improving living standards, maintaining political continuity and providing a clear perspective going forward to 2049.
Looking back to the hardships of the Century of National Humiliation gives impetus and direction to China’s leaders to maintain development, continue to raise living standards and improve the well-being of the 1.4bn population.
China does not live in a vacuum but in a world economy of ever-increasing exchange and commitment. Ukraine will have consequences for world economic growth and China’s planners will be aware of the present and future consequences of the war and make adjustments as it seeks more prosperity and associated stability.
NEXT #369 WILL APPEAR ON 7 MARCH 2022