China’s cabinet conducted an emergency meeting on Wednesday with more than 100,000 attendees, in which top authorities demanded further steps to stabilize an economy devastated by the country’s draconian Covid-19 controls. According to a story in the government-owned Global Times, officials from the province, municipal, and council levels attended the unscheduled video teleconference by the State Council. Premier Li Keqiang, who encouraged authorities to take steps to keep jobs and reduce unemployment, was among the high-ranking Chinese officials present.
Since a Covid outbreak in March, the world’s second-largest economy has suffered across a variety of sectors, prompting lockdown measures in many major cities, including the financial capital Shanghai, where many people have been unable to leave their homes or neighborhoods for more than a month and a half.
According to the Global Times, Li stated that the economic effect witnessed in March and April has eclipsed that experienced in 2020 during the coronavirus’s original epidemic. Several indications, such as unemployment rates, reduced industrial productivity, and freight transportation, were cited by him. The premier has grown more outspoken about the economic slowdown in recent weeks, describing the situation as “complicated and terrible” in May, but his remarks on Wednesday may present the bleakest image yet.
China’s GDP is expected to shrink this year, according to investment banks. UBS cut its full-year GDP growth projection to 3% earlier this week, citing concerns about Beijing’s stringent zero-Covid policy. China has stated that it expects 5.5 percent growth this year. Last year, the world’s second-largest economy grew at an annual rate of 8.1 percent, with growth slowing to 2.3 percent in 2020, the worst rate in decades.