Strategic Brief No. 48

How Does the Party Present its (Rather Bad) Economic Results and What it Intends to Do About it


How Does the Party Present its (Rather Bad)

Economic Results and What it Intends to Do About it


Camille Brugier and Omowumi Alao


Although China is experiencing a major economic slowdown, the Communist Party’s main newspaper, the People’s Daily (人民日报), has little to say about it. It endorses Zhongnanhai’s zero-Covid policy and focuses on investment in infrastructure as a key growth driver, putting an end to speculation on the prospect of a major economic reform in the country.


China is bogged down in a major economic crisis: all GDP projections show growth well below the 5.5% announced earlier this year, and the Bank of China is even forecasting only 3.5% growth for 2022. China's educated young are plagued by unemployment, and the country is also shaken by an unprecedented real-estate crisis. Despite recent attempts at adjustment (support for developers, low-interest loans, etc.), the economic situation does not seem to be improving. Furthermore, coupled with China’s economic policy, the “zero-Covid” policy is having a negative impact on both household consumption and exports, and consequently on the confidence of various economic players in China as a market.

Since economic policy is the cornerstone of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) legitimacy, support for the current regime is strongly correlated to improvements in material well-being from one generation to the next. Following Xi Jinping’s reappointment for a third term at the 20th Congress of the CCP (October 16-22, 2022), this paper analyses at how the People’s Daily, the Party’s widely read newspaper, reports on its economic performance between September 1 and October 12, 2022, and how the Party communicates on a sluggish economy when its legitimacy hinges on achieving good economic results.




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