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Chinese Economy Slows But Citizens Keep Faith In Communist Party


After posting solid growth for most of this year, the Chinese economy has taken on a darker outlook as the yuan weakens against the dollar and foreign investment dries up. The yuan’s “recent decline indicates that international investors are taking a gloomier view of China’s slowing economy,” reports the WSJ.

Meanwhile, the big banks are cutting their growth estimates for the Chinese economy: “Goldman Sachs China strategist Jiming Ha said in a research report Monday that China’s economy could slow to a 6% annual rate over the next seven years,” the Journal reports in a separate article. “The People’s Bank of China has responded to the domestic need for liquidity by injecting more than 500 billion yuan into the domestic market since late April, but its actions haven’t had much impact.”

Despite this sour economic news, Chinese citizens are still optimistic about the future and overwhelmingly supportive of the Communist Party. A poll conducted by Wenfang Tang, Michael Lewis-Beck, and Nicholas Martini, all researchers at American universities, found that 8 in 10 Chinese support the government in Beijing. (Polls in China are notoriously unreliable and must be taken with a grain of salt, no matter how well credentialed the pollsters are.) The pollsters contend that, despite their increasing access to information and a slowing economy, Chinese citizens remain much more supportive of their leaders than in similar developing countries like India, which unlike China is a “government of the people.”

In fact, as Tang, Lewis-Beck, and Martini argue in an article in the Diplomat, because the Communist Party is so concerned with appeasing the public, Chinese citizens enjoy a rare degree of responsiveness from their government, and this “is by far the most important reason for the high level of political trust in China.”

The success of the Chinese Communist Party depends on its ability to deliver jobs and development and increasing wealth to Chinese citizens while keeping anger over restrictions on freedom of speech and human rights as limited as possible. So far it seems to be doing an able job. But as nationalism forces Beijing into increasingly aggressive disputes with the neighbors and the economy continues to slow, that job is going to get more and more difficult.

[Chinese Flag image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • lukelea

    Given past history, it would take a lot of guts for a respondent to admit to a pollster that he was not satisfied with the Party.

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