Lies about the Chinese economy seek to demoralize and misdirect
Reality Check

Editor's note: Why are the Western media pumping out rhetoric about China in an economic decline? We've talked to the former director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London John Ross about this, and this is his analysis of the Chinese economy. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Edited excerpt:

CGTN: So, in your recent article published by Guancha, you've made a very detailed and data-driven analysis of the Chinese economy, and you compared it with many other major economies and developed countries. And you came to the conclusion that, I'm paraphrasing here, China's economic performance far surpasses other major countries, and there are certain motives behind the spread of this "China in decline" argument. So, what are some of those motives? And what are they trying to achieve?

John Ross: Well, the first thing that they're trying to do is conceal the facts. I mean, the situation is extremely clear. If we take the last four years, that is to take in the pandemic and the period after the pandemic, China's economy grew by 19.2 percent. That's a total for the four years. The U.S. grew at 7.5 percent. That means China's economy grew 2.5 times as fast as the United States'. And the United States was the best performing of all the developed economies. So, China outperformed the U.S. by far. In fact, if you take the per capita GDP, China's economy was growing more than three times as fast as the United States'. 

But, you have an absolutely bizarre situation where instead of discussing why China's economy is far outperforming all the other major economies, a very weird discussion is taking place in the U.S. media about how the U.S. is doing very well and China is not. This is completely out of line with the facts.

There are two reasons, I think. One is subjective and one is objective. The subjective one is that they want to try to persuade foreign companies not to invest in China by saying China's economy is not doing very well, et cetera. It's completely untrue. But nevertheless, people may read these things in the media. Secondly, they want to try to spread some demoralizing rumors in China or something like that. That's the subjective ones.

The second one, however, is that they want to try to get China to adopt the wrong economic policies; because China's economy is growing much faster than the Western economy. If the United States said to people in China "look, you should slow down your economy until it performs as badly, as slowly as a Western economy," everyone would laugh at this. That thing is ridiculous. So therefore, what they have to pretend is that the Western economies are doing better, growing faster than China, which is absolutely contradictory to the facts.

CGTN: What gives you confidence about the Chinese economy? I mean, you wrote in your article that China is not without its own problems. So, what makes you think that China can solve these problems and move the country forward?

John Ross: There are two problems. One is that the global economy has grown very slowly due to the slow growth in advanced countries, including the United States. This creates a negative situation for China, because it means instead of being aided by the international economy, it's being held back by the international economy. This means China's growth is really completely dependent on its own domestic demand. So therefore, increase in domestic market demand is the most crucial question.

The second one, which is not quite so well understood, because I think the problem of domestic demand is well understood, in China, is the profitability situation. The real situation is that China's profits are not higher than they were 5 years ago. And this is a problem, because it means that it puts downward pressure on private investment which has been relatively weak. I think more attention needs to be paid to this. But these are relatively small problems compared to the very slow growth, which is happening in the United States.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

Search Trends