Premier Wen Says, ‘Don’t Worry’

At the Davos 2009 World Economic Forum, Wen Jiabao aimed to instill confidence in the Chinese economy. From Forbes:

His message to survivors and victims, whether of storms, earthquakes or financial crises, is much the same: to be optimistic, to recount his government’s successes in helping thus far, and to promise that with the appropriate application of hard work and party discipline, the government will be able to provide more assistance to come.

That was pretty much how his full-house Davos speech went.

There was precious little new in it: Chinese state media have frequently reported 9% GDP growth for 2008–the slowest growth rate in seven years–and an official projection of 8% for 2009. Eight percent growth is the magic bare-minimum level below which the economy can’t generate sufficient new jobs to sop up new entrants to the labor market and those who have lost their jobs in the downturn of low-end export manufacturing.

Aside from China’s economic stimulus plans, Wen also notes plans for “industrial restructuring.” From BBC:

In addition, there would be industrial restructuring – with the phasing out of backward production practices – and particular attention would be paid to the key industries of cars, iron and steel.

An “extensive use of new technology would increase competitiveness”, as would an upgrading of science and technology, he said.

“Will China’s economy continue to grow fast and steady? Some people may have doubts about it, yet I can give you a definite answer,” he said.

“Yes, it will, we are full of confidence.”

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