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China is Doing Everything It Can to Conceal the True Extent of Its Economic Turmoil

Linette Lopez
Business Insider, Aug. 29, 2023

“China’s property market makes up about 30% of the country’s GDP, making it the cornerstone of the economy. It’s also a sector where crucial data has been vanishing since the end of last year.”
China’s economy is turning into a big black blob.

This transformation means that while the country’s economy will still be significant to global business, it will no longer be the lodestar for growth. It will still advance, but much more slowly. And while those on the outside will still be able to observe the economy, it will become increasingly difficult to truly understand what’s going on within.

The reality of China’s blob era pushed its way to the center of the global news cycle earlier this month when the Chinese government announced that it would no longer publish the unemployment rate for young people as part of its monthly jobs report. The final release for the data series — July’s number — came in at a record high of 20.5%. The number had become a global shorthand for China’s inability to reignite its economy since President Xi Jinping ended the country’s draconian COVID-19 lockdowns. So now it’s gone.

The sudden disappearance of the youth-unemployment report generated headlines, but it’s not a shock for longtime China watchers. Data has been disappearing from all over the country for years now. Reports detailing everything from exports to cement production — which are arguably more crucial for understanding the country’s structural malaise than youth unemployment — have vanished or become corrupted to the point that they’re no longer useful. This is not happening just because the economy is slowing; plenty of countries continue publishing data even though it’s no longer rosy. This is happening because Xi’s China is one that puts ideology before economic growth.

.  … [To read the full article, clickhere]

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