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China gives up setting course for economy

China posted its triumph over the coronavirus on Friday, but the country behind the epidemic no longer wishes to predict the growth of its economy. And to announce in passing a turn of screws against the democratic opposition in Hong Kong.

China posted its triumph over the coronavirus on Friday, but the country behind the epidemic no longer wishes to predict the growth of its economy. And to announce in passing a turn of screws against the democratic opposition in Hong Kong.

(AFP) – Shaken by the virus that appeared at the end of 2019 in Wuhan (center), the regime of President Xi Jinping has managed to stem the epidemic on its soil, even as it spread to the rest of the world, claiming nearly 330,000 lives. “We have achieved a major strategic success in our response to Covid-19,” proclaimed Prime Minister Li Keqiang, opening with two and a half months of delay the plenary session of the National People’s Assembly, the annual high mass of power. Communist.

Faced with western countries struggling to control the epidemic, Beijing unabashedly touts its authoritarian model. But he came up against retribution from the United States, which accused him of having delayed reacting to the epidemic. “It was China’s incompetence, and nothing else, that caused this mass killing worldwide,” thundered US President Donald Trump on Wednesday. First country affected by the Covid-19 but also the first to get out of it, the Asian giant is now faced with the “immense task” of reviving its economy, in the midst of a global depression, said Li Keqiang to the 3,000 deputies gathered to face him, masked face.

The success won against the epidemic “paid a high price,” he recognized, referring to the plunge in gross domestic product in the first quarter (-6.8%, a first in history of the People’s Republic). “The pressure on jobs has increased sharply,” he admitted. A sign of the uncertainty facing the country, Mr. Li saidbstenuous to set a growth target for 2020 – another first in recent history.

“Our country will be confronted with certain factors which are difficult to predict”, he justified himself, while the main customers of China, Europe and North America, are down. In response to the general slump, the country will drop its deficit this year to 3.6% of GDP (against 2.8% last year). The Prime Minister also announced the issuance of a state loan of 128 billion euros, to which is added a vast investment plan of 481 billion euros.

Always more for the army

If the country has no growth target, it still plans to increase military spending by 6.6% this year. Sign of the economic difficulties, this budget, the second in the world after that of the United States, increases less than last year (7.5%).

While the world is monopolized by the coronavirus, Beijing intends to take advantage of its parliamentary session to impose its will on Hong Kong, shaken last year by a colossal protest movement against the local pro-Chinese government. A bill was tabled on Friday to allow the central government to enforce a “national security law” in the autonomous territory, which the United Kingdom returned to China in 1997, without going through the local legislative council. The Hong Kong democratic opposition reacted strongly, as did the United States, which warned Beijing against a “very destabilizing” law.


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