China’s target for this year may be easy to achieve. It is well below what many Western economists expect the Chinese economy to realize. They have been forecasting an expansion of about 8 percent, as exports of manufactured goods continue to boom while the service sector rebounds from a very weak performance last year.
Even as he announced the target, China’s premier, Li Keqiang, warned of risks that lay ahead.
“As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, instability and uncertainty are mounting on the international landscape, and the global economy continues to face grave challenges,” Mr. Li said as he delivered a report on the government’s work to the legislature, the National People’s Congress, at the start of its weeklong annual gathering.
The congress is also poised to intensify China’s clampdown in Hong Kong, building on a national security law that Beijing imposed on the city last year. This year, delegates are set to approve a proposal to drastically shrink democratic competition in local elections in the former British colony. The planned overhaul of Hong Kong’s election laws would make it very hard for democracy advocates to hold — or even contest — any positions of power.
China will rewrite the rules on how Hong Kong’s top local official, called the chief executive, and its legislature are chosen, Wang Chen, a Politburo member who specializes in legal matters, said in a speech.
He said that Beijing would overhaul the membership of the territory’s Election Committee, a body that chooses the chief executive, whose approximately 1,200 members are selected by groups that have typically been loyal to Beijing and the city’s business elite.
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/04/world/asia/china-economy.html