Much po­ten­tial re­mains for China’s econ­omy

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL -

The Chi­nese econ­omy grew by 6.3 per­cent year-on-year in the first half of the year. In the se­cond quar­ter, it ex­panded by 6.2 per­cent from a year ago, the low­est growth rate in the past 27 years. While fu­ture of China-us trade war re­mains un­cer­tain, the data left a pes­simistic im­pres­sion on the Chi­nese peo­ple.

Chi­nese were used to high growth rates of around 8 per­cent, or even dou­ble-digit fig­ures. But re­al­iz­ing a high fig­ure is not aimed at show­ing off. Be it 6.3 per­cent or lower, it can be seen as a good per­for­mance com­pared to the rest of the world. China still leads the ma­jor economies when it comes to growth.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has re­cently re­it­er­ated that it will not adopt strong stim­u­lus poli­cies for the econ­omy. That’s be­cause the Chi­nese econ­omy needs healthy de­vel­op­ment. Strong stim­u­lus poli­cies come with eco­nomic data that looks good, but what or­di­nary peo­ple want is bet­ter liv­ing stan­dards.

China is see­ing the largest-ever eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion driven by the gov­ern­ment’s proac­tive reg­u­la­tion. The fun­da­men­tal di­rec­tion of this trans­for­ma­tion is to put peo­ple first. Dur­ing the process, we see less pol­lu­tion and in­creas­ing eco­log­i­cal prin­ci­ples of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. At the same time, con­sump­tion is grad­u­ally tak­ing cen­ter stage among the driv­ing forces of the coun­try’s econ­omy.

Fair­ness has re­ceived greater at­ten­tion from so­ci­ety. Solv­ing in­come in­equal­ity and un­bal­anced eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in dif­fer­ent re­gions has be­come a ma­jor pol­icy ori­en­ta­tion.

The pro­tec­tion of the pri­vate econ­omy has once again be­come the fo­cus of China’s eco­nomic pol­icy over the past year. Small and mi­cro busi­nesses are be­ing sup­ported. Al­though the Chin­aus trade war is es­ca­lat­ing, new break­throughs have con­stantly been made in Chi­nese poli­cies in terms of openingup. De­spite a slow­down in China’s GDP growth rate in re­cent years, the qual­ity of the growth con­tin­ues to rise. With the im­prov­ing en­vi­ron­ment and city gov­er­nance and rapid tran­si­tion from a tra­di­tional eco­nomic model to a new eco­nomic model, the Chi­nese peo­ple’s lives have changed fast.

China once ex­pe­ri­enced an over­heat­ing econ­omy plagued by a highlevel of re­source con­sump­tion and pol­lu­tion, se­vere cor­rup­tion and re­peated con­struc­tion. Al­though GDP data was high, it was not sus­tain­able and there was a large amount of waste, which failed to im­prove peo­ple’s lives. The eco­nomic ad­just­ments over the years are un­doubt­edly cor­rect. The qual­ity of our life is im­prov­ing.

Of course, the down­ward pres­sure on the econ­omy is a great chal­lenge that must be taken se­ri­ously by all lo­cal govern­ments.

Is it pos­si­ble to achieve a higher eco­nomic growth rate? We should not give up seek­ing this pos­si­bil­ity. For in­stance, many places are striv­ing to drive eco­nomic growth with what they call a “night­time econ­omy” (busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties be­tween 6 pm and 6 am in the ser­vice sec­tor). This is some­thing which must be ex­plored for eco­nomic growth.

Houses are meant to be lived in, not for spec­u­la­tion. This prin­ci­ple must be ad­hered to. But the cur­rent pur­chase re­stric­tion cur­tails nor­mal de­mand. Can real es­tate gov­er­nance be im­proved to sat­isfy the de­mand for liv­ing?

High-qual­ity de­vel­op­ment should cor­re­spond to peo­ple’s de­sire for a bet­ter life. City man­age­ment should put peo­ple’s con­ve­nience, safety and com­fort up front. Cities should value or­der, plu­ral­ism and free­dom.

China has enor­mous eco­nomic po­ten­tial. There is still much room to re­shape or­di­nary peo­ple’s life, which is the core of the po­ten­tial. That makes China one of the most promis­ing ma­jor economies. Much re­mains to be done in un­leash­ing its full po­ten­tial.

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