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China: annual political high mass opens against a backdrop of economic “concern”

Chinese leaders are "everythingà made confident" in China's growth prospects, assuredé Monday a manager, whenù the country is preparing for present the broad outlines of its policy for 2024 against a backdrop of economic slowdown.

China opens its parliamentary sessions in Beijing on Monday, the major political meeting of the year with “great concern” about unemployment and the economy.

Security and surveillance have been reinforced in the streets of the capital for the arrival of thousands of parliamentarians who are participating in the “Two Sessions” – that of the Parliament itself and that of the consultative assembly.

The debates begin Monday at 3:00 p.m. local time (07:00 GMT) with the opening ceremony of this consultative assembly, the “Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference” (CPPCC), which will notably be attended by President Xi Jinping.

The members of this institution, who represent different sectors of activity, political organizations affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), religions and even ethnic minorities , are gathered until Sunday.

CPPCC spokesperson Liu Jieyi said at a press conference on Sunday that “economic issues are of great concern” for the more than 2,000 members of this assembly.

“The employment of young people, particularly young graduates, is a subject of great concern”, he also declared.

The youth unemployment rate officially stood at around 15% at the end of 2023, after adjustment by the National Bureau of Statistics of its calculation methods.

– Optimism –

Chinese leaders are “completely confident” in the long-term growth prospects of the world's second largest economy, assured a spokesperson for the parliamentary session, Lou Qinjian.

The annual session of the CPPCC, a consultative body, is less important than the quasi-simultaneous meeting of Parliament, the National People's Congress (ANP).

The latter will begin on Tuesday, notably with the announcement of the official economic growth objective for 2024. It will end on March 11, Lou Qinjian told the press.

Contrary to current practice, the Prime Minister will not hold his traditional closing press conference. This meeting “will no longer take place in the coming years”, indicated Lou Qinjian without explaining the reason for this decision.

These two parliamentary meetings should not, a priori, lead to the announcement of large-scale economic recovery measures.

These initiatives are nevertheless necessary, according to many experts, in order to revive the Chinese economy, which last year recorded one of the weakest growth rates in recent decades (5.2%).

“I don't expect any major policy changes, such as major structural reforms that would change the economic trajectory,” Lynette Ong, a professor at the University of Toronto.

“The emphasis will be (…) placed on security” during this parliamentary session, she emphasizes.

– Limited power –

China should therefore announce on Tuesday a new increase in its military budget, which has been following a trend for several decades the increase, in step with economic growth.

Beijing last year greatly expanded its definition of everything that constitutes espionage and raided several foreign companies advice, audit and research.

Shortly before this parliamentary session, the notion of state secret was also broadened.

In practice, the nearly 3,000 deputies of the National People's Assembly (ANP) have limited power.

All decisions important matters are taken in advance during closed-door meetings of the CCP.

But the themes discussed and the tone of the speeches make it possible to know the main priorities of the leaders, believe analysts.

“The balance between security issues and the need to keep the economy running, while resolving other issues, is at the center of concerns policy makers,” said Diana Choyleva, chief economist at Enodo Economics.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116