China’s Economy Turning a Corner?


The year 2023 will go down in history as one of defied expectations for China’s policymaking establishment and the manifold analysts who called it wrong. Both were banking on a post-pandemic economic recovery that never materialized, and this failure to launch is now shaping markedly gloomier forecasts for 2024.

One event framed the political context of the first half of 2023 more than any other: the abrupt end of China’s zero-COVID policy. The first few months of the year saw hospitals and health services overwhelmed with the sick, and a population fearful of catching a virus that had been aggressively stigmatized by the state. COVID-related deaths rapidly mounted, though no one can be sure of the exact number given underreporting in the official data. Estimates of total deaths range from the hundreds of thousands to millions.


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