Can He Save China’s Economy? LI Keqiang Holds Massive 100K People Conference | Zero-COVID Policy

Can He Save China’s Economy? LI Keqiang Holds Massive 100K People Conference | Zero-COVID Policy

Can He Save China’s Economy? LI Keqiang Holds Massive 100K People Conference | Zero-COVID Policy

In the afternoon of May 25, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hosted a national teleconference with 100,000 attendees that discussed plans for stabilizing the economy. At the conference, Li warned that China's economy is at a “critical point” and that if no decisive action is taken to stop the economy from declining further, there will be dire consequences.

Li admitted that China's economic indicators have fallen significantly since March and especially since April, and the impact is even greater than when the virus broke out in 2020. China's economy has been so bad that it has severely impacted the central government's fiscal revenue, which fell by 5.9% in April, and local fiscal revenue fell even faster, by 6.6%. In particular, the Yangtze River Delta region, centered on Shanghai, which has been a net contributor to central government revenue in previous years, has seen a significant decline, with the largest drop of 32% and the smaller ones exceeding the national average decrease. Coupled with the suspension of maritime traffic, customs revenue has plummeted, which has seriously affected the overall source of tax revenue. The unemployment rate also reached 6.1 percent in April. Prior to this, Communist Party officials mentioned that the unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 24 had reached a record high of 18.2 percent.

It is unrealistic to expect China's economy to rely on Li Keqiang to save the day in the short term. In the face of the two completely different voices of Xi and Li, many local officials fear that if they make the wrong choice, they may be targeted after the 20th National Congress.