China's Economy of 'Great Concern' at Annual Political Meetings: Spokesman

Media attend a press conference with spokesperson Liu Jieyi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2024, ahead of the country's annual legislative meetings known as the "Two Sessions". (Photo by Pedro Pardo / AFP)

BEIJING, CHINA - A spokesperson for China's political advisory body said Sunday the economy, especially youth employment, was of "great concern" to its delegates on the eve of annual legislative meetings in Beijing.

Thousands of delegates from across the country will convene in Beijing on Monday for the start of the ruling Communist Party's yearly conclave, known as the "Two Sessions".

The meetings come as the world's second-largest economy battles a range of challenges from a protracted property crisis to flagging domestic consumption and persistently high youth unemployment.

Liu Jieyi, a spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), told a news conference on Sunday that "economic topics are of great concern to our representatives".

"The employment of young people, especially fresh graduates, is a matter of great concern," he said.

Beijing reported economic growth of 5.2 percent last year, one of its slowest rates in decades.

Youth unemployment officially stood at around 15 percent at the end of 2023, after the statistics bureau adjusted its calculation methods.

It stopped publishing the politically sensitive figure for several months from last summer as the jobless rate soared well above 20 percent.

Liu said China's economy still had "a good foundation and favourable conditions for promoting high-quality development".

The country had also proven "resilient" in the face of "external shocks... and internal difficulties", he said.

The CPPCC will run until the morning of March 10, Liu said.

Its discussions are relatively low-stakes compared to the near simultaneous gathering of the country's legislature, the National People's Congress.


© Agence France-Presse

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