In a speech earlier this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for patience as Beijing attempts to turn the country’s slumping economy around, VOA News reported.
The speech was published last week in the Chinese Communist Party’s main theoretical journal Qiushi just hours after economic data was released showing that factory and consumer activity in China had further weakened in July.
In the speech, that President Xi delivered in February, the Chinese president called for a “socialist ideology with strong cohesion” with a focus on improving healthcare, education, and food supplies in the long term rather than the short-term pursuit of material wealth.
Xi said the Chinese people “must maintain historic patience” while also insisting on “steady, step-by-step progress.”
In the second quarter of 2023, economic growth in China dropped to 0.8 percent, down from 2.2 percent in the first quarter, with an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent, China’s weakest in decades.
A recent survey found that unemployment among young urban workers ages 16 to 24 skyrocketed to a record 21.3 percent in June. Beijing’s statistic bureau said last week that it was withholding updates on unemployment as it refines its measurement.
In his February speech, Xi revived a 1950s party slogan of “common prosperity,” calling for the massive wealth gap between the poor majority and the small elite to narrow. He also proposed regulating “the healthy development of capital” without announcing any possible new initiatives.
Xi argued that common prosperity is the “essential feature” of China’s modernization that sets it apart from modernization in the West, which he said pursues maximizing “capital interests” instead of the “interests of the vast majority of people.”
Xi said the West is facing increased trouble over its inability to “curb the greedy nature of capital” and “solve chronic diseases” like “spiritual poverty” and “materialism.”