Chinese leader Xi Jinping has released a speech emphasizing the importance of patience as the ruling Communist Party navigates a deepening economic slump. In his speech, Xi also criticizes Western countries for their materialism and “spiritual poverty,” suggesting that they are increasingly facing troubles of their own.
Published by Qiushi, the party’s top theoretical journal, Xi’s speech comes at a time when data shows weakening consumer and factory activity in July, despite official promises to support struggling entrepreneurs. Notably, the government has not provided an update on the politically sensitive issue of rising unemployment among young people.
Xi, who holds tremendous power as China’s leader, advocates for China to build a socialist ideology that fosters strong cohesion. He emphasizes the need to focus on long-term goals such as improving education, healthcare, and food supplies for China’s population of 1.4 billion, rather than solely pursuing short-term material wealth.
Since assuming power in 2012, Xi has prioritized restoring the ruling party’s influence as an economic and social leader. This has resulted in increased control over business and society. However, some changes come at a cost, as successful Chinese companies face pressure to divert funds towards political initiatives, including processor chip development. Tech industries have also been subject to tighter control through data security and anti-monopoly crackdowns, leading to significant declines in their stock market value.
Xi emphasizes the necessity of maintaining “historic patience” and making steady progress. The speech was delivered in February in the city of Chongqing, according to Qiushi. It is worth noting that it is common for the journal to publish speeches several months after their delivery.
China’s economic growth has slowed, with a decline to 0.8% in the three months ending in June compared to the previous quarter’s growth of 2.2% in January-March. This translates to an annual rate of 3.2%, marking one of China’s weakest growth rates in decades.
The Disturbing Reality of China’s Youth Job Market
A recent survey conducted in June has revealed that unemployment among urban workers aged 16 to 24 in China has skyrocketed to a record-breaking 21.3%. The country’s statistics bureau announced this week that it would temporarily halt updates as it works on refining its measurement methods.
Addressing Concerns in the Real Estate Industry
China’s government is now faced with the task of reassuring anxious homebuyers and investors amidst the financial challenges plaguing the heavily indebted real estate sector. This follows the recent failure of one of China’s leading developers, Country Garden, to make a payment to bondholders, resulting in the suspension of bond trading. In response, a government spokesperson affirmed on Tuesday that regulators are actively working to bring debt under control and that anticipated risks will gradually be resolved.
Uncertainty Surrounding Information and Foreign Companies
In addition to the real estate crisis, Beijing has also implemented stricter rules regarding anti-spying measures and information controls. Consequently, foreign and private companies now find themselves unsure of what activities will be permitted.
Prioritizing “Common Prosperity”
Chinese President Xi Jinping has emphasized the concept of “common prosperity,” a slogan originally popularized in the 1950s that he has now revived. This includes a call for narrowing the significant wealth gap in China, ensuring that it is not dominated by a small elite, but serves the majority of the population. However, Xi did not announce any specific new initiatives to achieve this goal.
According to Xi, “common prosperity for all people” is a defining characteristic of Chinese-style modernization and sets it apart from Western modernization approaches. He believes that Western countries are currently facing numerous challenges due to their relentless pursuit of maximizing capital interests rather than prioritizing the well-being of the majority. Xi claims that materialism and spiritual poverty are chronic diseases that Western countries have been unable to solve.
In conclusion, China is currently grappling with significant economic challenges, particularly in its youth job market and the real estate industry. The government aims to address these issues while also emphasizing the importance of “common prosperity” and distinguishing the Chinese approach to modernization from Western principles.