China’s President Xi Jinping claps after his speech in Beijing Chinese ruler Xi Jinping has staked his rule on making China larger, by annexing neighbors. Taiwan is not his only target. He needs success to assure a precedent-breaking third term as the Communist Party’s general secretary, but the Chinese people, preoccupied by a failing economy, are in no mood for their leader’s aggression.
We start with the Party’s storyline that the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdowns is leading to an economic revival. (RELATED: CHANG: Biden Administration Is Handing Space To China On A Silver Platter)
Don’t believe it. The ongoing downturn is not merely the result of disease-control measures. The most fundamental problem is that Xi has been reversing reforms and reinstituting strict state control. He is a totalitarian at heart.
The second-most fundamental problem is that China is carrying a staggering load of debt. The Bank of International Settlements estimated that the country’s debt was equal to about 290% of gross domestic product in late 2020 , and there has subsequently been a rapid accumulation of indebtedness, during the pandemic. When adding the so-called “hidden debt” and deflating GDP to minimize the effect of inflated official reporting, the country’s ratio is now around 350% .
The debt, however large it may be, is distorting the economy, especially the crucial property sector, which accounts for about 30% of GDP . Home prices are declining country-wide, but, more worryingly, sales volumes are plunging. Home sales fell 34.5% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year. Property developers are defaulting one after another. One of them, Evergrande Group, is struggling under $305 billion in obligations.
Banks are troubled. There have been at least six bank runs since mid-April, in Henan and Anhui provinces. There are restrictions on deposit withdrawals […]
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