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Insights丨Experts call for a fair reading of China’s prospect

2024-02-29 Editor : Chen Tianhao ECNS App Download

By Chen Tianhao, Feng Shuang

(ECNS) -- With China and the U.S. contribution to the world GDP coming out respectively, debate has been heated up again surrounding the trend of "a rising East and a declining West." In responding to related questions, experts share their confidence in China's development and call for a fair reading of China's hopeful prospects.

According to China's National Bureau of Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the United States Department of Commerce respectively, China's 2023 GDP reached a total of RMB 126.06 trillion (U.S.$17.52 trillion), while that of the U.S. stood at US$27.37 trillion.

Some analyses claimed that China's share of global GDP in 2023 has dropped while the U.S. has been keeping the up trend for two consecutive years, which was interpreted by some media as proof of a dismal outlook for China's economy.

Guangming Daily published an article refuting such analysis, stating that it is not comprehensive enough and lacking both historical perspective and foresight. The article argues that the increase in the share of the U.S. economy in the world is mainly influenced by short-term factors such as the rise in U.S. price levels and the significant appreciation of the U.S. dollar. Overall, it suggests that the share of developed economies led by the U.S. in the world economy will decline after a brief increase, while the share of developing economies led by China will rebound after a temporary decrease. The overall trend of the rising in the East and declining in the West remains unchanged.

Josef Mahoney, professor at East China Normal University, points out that in a difficult period fraught with challenges globally, "China is still experiencing rejuvenation while should also be wary of the domestic and international risks, opportunities and responsibilities befitting a rising, major power," so a proper perspective requires understanding that ups and downs are normal in such times, while remaining confident in the overall, positive trend.

Mahoney elaborates on his thought, noting that "China has emerged as a major power in this new era precisely because it has already established itself as a technology power, and to some extent China has equaled and in some cases surpassed the U.S. in some tech fields."

He also thinks that "evidence of that is found in China's world-leading national industrial system, world-class infrastructure, and its green innovation and development. It's also the case that it was through the progressive development of China's technological society that other achievements have been possible, including lifting about 800 million people out of abject poverty, eliminating extreme poverty altogether, and establishing a middle-income population exceeding 400 million."

In addition, Mahoney points out that these achievements are "rightfully credited to a political system described as 'whole process people's democracy', which has advanced national rejuvenation through a high level of political, social, commercial and industrial coordination." This is, according to Mahoney, what has propelled China's modernization and its emergence as a technology power, as a world leader in technology production but likewise the world's most advanced technological society.

Warwick Powell, adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology and Senior Fellow at Taihe Institute, believes that as China's economy is growing faster than the collective West's economy and its technical base is advancing coupled with its rising educational standards across its population, it is catching up rapidly and in some areas, overtaking some of the nations of the collective West.

He also thinks that China is doubtlessly rising, when one compares its current state of economic capability and standard of living to what was the case in the recent past. It's also rising relative to its position vis-a-vis the collective West. This doesn't mean that the West is declining in absolute terms, but the collective West is slowing down and others are catching up.

He further points out that China has demonstrated a competency and capacity to diagnose its challenges and address them. So it's not a question of being pessimistic or optimistic, it's a question of confidence in the probability of success. And the probability that China will successfully navigate the challenges of the next decade or two is high.


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