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Slower growth, but healthier economy

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-06 07:59

Slower growth, but healthier economy

A worker checks a bridge reinforcement at a construction site of the Yiyang-Loudi Highway in Central China's Hunan province. China's GDP growth slowed to 7.4 percent in 2014, the lowest reading since 1990. [Li Aiming / China Daily]

For those worried about the domino effects of a slowing Chinese economy, Premier Li Keqiang's report on government work may be a mixed blessing.

By lowering its 2015 growth target to "around 7 percent", the government has apparently given in to the intensifying downward pressures. Which may seem particularly unsettling alongside last year's 7.4 percent, already a 24-year low.

As Li acknowledged in Thursday's report to the National People's Congress, economy-wise, the country may face even greater difficulties this year than in 2014.

Indeed, none of the key indicators of economic health look as inspiring as they used to. Many foretell harsher times ahead.

But the state of the Chinese economy is far less gloomy than it is in doomsayers' eyes. Even after the dramatic slowdown from the rapid double digit growth of previous decades, 7 percent will still be decent enough in a global context.

Decent speed remains crucial for China, because of its daunting regional disparities and population base. Which is why Li keeps emphasizing a "reasonable range".

But just like the government's decision to stop using GDP growth as a yardstick for evaluating the performance of local leaders, speed alone should no longer be the sole concern in evaluating the country's economic well-being.

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