BEIJING: China is showing “rare courage” to reform in the face of economic troubles, the country’s top newspaper said, deriding foreign media for fanning fears that recent stock market turmoil could herald the end of China’s model of economic governance.
Plunging stock markets have exacerbated worries about China’s faltering economy, with share prices dropping 25 per cent in little more than a week before the central bank cut interest rates and further loosened bank lending on Tuesday.
The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily slammed foreign doomsayers for suggesting the country’s economic system would be shaken to its core in a commentary published on Thursday under the pen name “Zhong Sheng”, meaning “Voice of China”.
“Some people around the world have rather impatiently spoken of the so-called end of the China model, or of a hidden financial crisis in China,” The People’s Daily said.
“Of course, Chinese people are already unsurprised by the selective thinking in Western public opinion,” the paper said, noting that commentators on the US economy were far less alarmist when the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. “China is devoting rarely seen courage to comprehensively deepen reform. The world also needs to reform its perspectives on China,” the paper said.
The central bank’s latest moves have yet to convince investors of Beijing’s ability to jolt the economy out of its slowdown, with some economists estimating the current level of growth may be half of the government’s 7 per cent target.
Chinese state media English-language commentaries, which typically target foreign audiences, also lashed out at Western alarmism over China’s economy.
The Global Times, a popular and influential tabloid published by the People’s Daily, said in an editorial that any notion that the slowdown would impair the party’s legitimacy was a “delusion”. “The stock market’s sharp fall is like a fever, but foreign media describes it as a cancer.
If so, the market plunge seven years ago would have ended the China model,” it said. The official Xinhua news agency in its own English language commentary on Wednesday said that “market jitters will not last long” and China optimists need more time to prove they are right.
“Only those investors who have grasped an objective picture of the Chinese economy can weather the turmoil and reap their gains,” Xinhua said. But a commentary circulated widely last week in state media, including by China Central Television and the Guangming Daily, a party paper aimed at intellectuals, pointed to domestic resistance over the government’s handling of the economy and broader reforms.
People must be more conscious that President Xi Jinping’s push to reform will inevitably touch upon deep issues in China’s politics, economy, society, military and diplomacy, and deals with the basic question of making “the lifeblood of this enormous economy” healthier, the commentary said.
“The enormity of the difficulty” and the fierceness and complexity of opposition to reform, “possibly exceeds people’s imagination,” it said.