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China’s many systemic problems dominate its outlook for 2024

First published: The Guardian 01 January 2024

There were contrasting reactions when the US rating agency Moody’s downgraded China’s A1 credit rating outlook from stable to negative last month. Financial markets, focused on the economy, paid it barely any attention. Chinese state media, looking at the politics, saw red. Global Times called it “biased and unprofessional”. A few days later, the Ministry of State Security issued a statement stipulating that the only purpose of “negative talk” was to doubt or deny China’s socialist system, and to contain its development.

The Chinese Communist party’s prickly attitude to criticism is not uncommon. It chooses instead to propagate a narrative of continuous success in which its own role is pivotal. It recognises that China confronts big challenges nowadays, but attributes them to low confidence, thinks they are fleeting, and says they’ll be resolved in 2024. Read on….