Data released from the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday was worse than expected. In particular, total retail sales of consumer goods went up 8.1 percent year-on-year in November. This is considered relatively low, compared to the previous rate.
Downward economic pressure is apparently increasing. But some people’s pessimistic views are direr than the real situation. Some even claim that China’s economy has only grown by a bit more than 1 percent or even gone through negative growth. Such remarks not only deny all the work of the National Bureau of Statistics, but also do not chime with international economic analysis.
Bad-mouthing China has spread and received popularity to some extent on the Chinese internet. This mirrors the pessimistic mood in society including dissatisfaction with the authorities’ way of describing the economic status quo. This mood deserves close attention.
The Chinese economy is indeed facing some difficulties. Some are temporary problems during economic transformation and others are caused by the international environment. But it is imprudent to equate them all as high risk.
Officials, scholars and media should all illustrate China’s problems objectively, analysing the nation’s economic outlook in a calm way.
The government should fully believe in the public’s rationality and should not be afraid of exposing negative information to the public. Scholars and media should also stick to the facts with a keen attention to detail and broad vision.
China’s economy is likely to go through more difficulties in 2019 than this year, but the economic fundamentals will not see unusual changes. Measures to stabilise growth are being initiated and implemented, and early warnings have been issued of various risks including finance, people’s livelihoods and public sentiment.
It is not easy to generate new economic growth sources, but China’s economy is clearly not on the edge of a cliff. Many risks have been removed through structural adjustment.
Bad news spreads rapidly in the internet era. If certain companies lay off employees and reduce salaries, it will quickly be exaggerated. This misdirection results from some unprofessional value orientations. Although nothing in the economic field is 100 percent certain, the predictability of the Chinese economy remains one of the highest in the world’s major economies.
The existing problems in China lie not in the economy itself, but in bureaucracy and formalism which play an awful role in eroding social confidence. Therefore eliminating them is probably the country’s top task of all. It becomes increasingly urgent to implement reforms and remove stumbling blocks. Downward pressure and lack of public confidence are gradually interacting to form a vicious circle. This interaction of economics and public opinion might become a serious political issue if not contained in a timely fashion.