Slow and steady wins the race
Bradley Blankenship
A view of a commercial street in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, July 2, 2022. /Xinhua

A view of a commercial street in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, July 2, 2022. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Bradley Blankenship is a Prague-based American journalist, political analyst and freelance reporter. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China held a meeting on Thursday to analyze and study the country's current economic situation. While the meeting acknowledged China's success in coordinated epidemic prevention and control, as well as economic and social development, it also recognized the necessity for "strategic focus."

The main takeaway for the second half of the year was to "adhere to the general principle of seeking progress while maintaining stability, fully, accurately and comprehensively implement the new concept for development, build a new development pattern, and promote high-quality development."

In a nutshell, this means that China will aim to maintain its dynamic zero-COVID policy while keeping the economy steady. On top of this, China will adjust its macro policy to spur demand while using monetary levers to make up for demand shortfalls. It will increase credit support for businesses, maintain supply chain stability and international competitiveness.

And as far as economic risks, China will mitigate these by ensuring the safety of critical resources, such as food and energy, as well as clamp down on real estate speculation. China will also commit itself to continuous opening-up and reform, specifically in regard to its three-year action plan on state-owned enterprise reform.

Perhaps the central theme of the meeting can be summed up as one quote found in the official release, which is that "victory comes from perseverance."  I am reminded of one of Aesop's famous fables titled "The Tortoise and the Hare," which tells the story of a humble tortoise that challenges an arrogant hare to a race. Off to a massive start, the hare takes a nap only to find his slower adversary eventually pass him and win the race.

This children's fable is believed to be the origin of an English idiom, "Slow and steady wins the race." Perhaps this is the perfect phrase to fit with Chinese leaders' reasoning behind their strategy for the second half of 2022, mainly that it appears to focus primarily on stability rather than growth. But, of course, the analogy doesn't perfectly fit because China has grown at a breakneck pace over the past several decades and shows no signs of slowing down to any serious degree.

At the same time, focusing on economic stability in the latter half of the year plays right into China's economic strengths and what makes it such an attractive destination for foreign investment.

A view of the new Tiexi Plant of BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, December 21, 2021. /Xinhua

A view of the new Tiexi Plant of BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, December 21, 2021. /Xinhua

China is already a more attractive destination than the U.S. and is an engine of coordinated global growth through, for example, the Belt and Road Initiative.

There're even signs that China is becoming a safe haven during times of uncertainty, too. Since 2008, foreign lending has steadily left places like the U.S. – due in no small part to its mismanagement of the financial crash that took place during that time – to places like China.

In 2020, China led the world for the first time in foreign direct investment (FDI) as it contained its initial outbreak of COVID-19 even though global FDI contracted. And in 2021, while the U.S. did reclaim its top spot with a dramatic turnaround of over $300 billion, China also saw steady growth and set a new record at $173.48 billion.

As many countries place an emphasis on growth, especially after reporting consecutive quarters of contraction, which is the definition of a recession, China's leaders are wise to focus on stability. This will help play on China's economic strengths, build up the factors that already make China an attractive destination for investment.

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