Modern China's Original Sin
Tiananmen Square's Legacy of Repression
The Tiananmen Papers
China: Erratic State, Frustrated Society
Long Time Coming
The Prospects for Democracy in China
The Life of the Party
The Post-Democratic Future Begins in China
Democratize or Die
Why China's Communists Face Reform or Revolution
How China Is Ruled
Why It's Getting Harder for Beijing to Govern
Chinese Dissidence From Tiananmen to Today
How the People's Grievances Have Grown
The Geography of Chinese Power
How Far Can Beijing Reach on Land and at Sea?
The Game Changer
Coping With China's Foreign Policy Revolution
How China Sees America
The Sum of Beijing’s Fears
Beijing's Brand Ambassador
A Conversation With Cui Tiankai
The Inevitable Superpower
Why China’s Dominance Is a Sure Thing
The Middling Kingdom
The Hype and the Reality of China’s Rise
The Risky Strategy Behind China's Construction Economy
Austerity with Chinese Characteristics
Why China's Belt-Tightening Has More To Do With Confucius Than Keynes
Where Have All the Workers Gone?
China's Labor Shortage and the End of the Panda Boom
After the Plenum
Why China Must Reshape the State
The Great Leap Backward?
It became fashionable after the Soviet Union’s collapse to say that breakneck economic growth was the only thing postponing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) day of reckoning. Communist ideology was discredited, went the argument, but as long as the economic pie kept growing, citizens would set aside broader concerns and take their piece. But what if growth were interrupted by, say, a global financial crisis, collapse of world trade, and mass layoffs on the Chinese factory floor? The music would stop, the masquerade party would end, and Jennifer Connelly would smash her way through David Bowie’s bubble prison, so to speak.
Except that it didn’t. The Chinese economy faced exactly this cataclysmic scenario in the final months of 2008. Collapsing confidence and worldwide financial dysfunction forced businesses to cancel orders en masse. It was a huge blow to the Chinese manufacturing industry, compounding the weaknesses of a domestic economy already fragile after months of government efforts to cool a real estate bubble and overheating inflation. Tens of millions of Chinese migrant workers were laid off in the lead up to the Lunar New Year holiday in late January 2009. They returned to the countryside, passed the holiday with relatives, and waited for the crisis to abate.
Meanwhile, Zhongnanhai’s poobahs began to sweat. The global economy was plunging into the worst recession since the 1930s. China responded hastily with an outsized stimulus package that boosted confidence, but was insufficient to create jobs for both the laid-off workers and the millions of college graduates and young migrant workers who had flocked to urban job markets every year for decades. Early in 2009, Chinese officials were openly worrying about maintaining social stability in the Chinese countryside.
The economy in 2009 was indeed shaky by Chinese standards, if not in comparison to the rest of the world. China’s real GDP growth slowed to single digits -- the lowest it had been in nearly a decade. Accordingly, the China bears rose from hibernation to
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