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View of a signboard of Evergrande Group in Ji'nan city, east China's Shandong province.

Reuters

From developers to defense leaders, China’s disappearing elite

Why do Chinese officials keep vanishing? On Saturday, several executives of the beleaguered property developer Evergrande Group were arrested in the southern city of Shenzhen, where the conglomerate is headquartered. It is unclear how many persons were detained, or their names or titles, though a statement by local police referenced one individual named “Du.” There is speculation that this individual is Du Liang, who in 2021 was listed as head of Evergrande’s wealth management unit.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping.

GZERO Media/ Jess Frampton

China’s economic woes, explained

After forty years of extraordinary growth, China’s economy may be entering an era of stagnation.

Youth unemployment just hit a record high of 21%. Manufacturing activity is contracting. Exports have declined on the back of sticky inflation and soaring interest rates in the US and Europe. Foreign investment has stalled. Capital outflows are accelerating. The property sector, which makes up a fifth of the economy, is crashing. Property development behemoth Evergrande Group filed for bankruptcy last month. China’s largest homebuilder, Country Garden Holdings, is on the verge of default. Headline growth has come in lower than expected, and the overall economy is flirting with deflation amid persistently weak consumer spending, faltering private investment, and mounting financial stress.

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Workers work on a production line at a silk workshop in Haian, Jiangsu province, China.

Reuters

China is open for business

In an uncharacteristic acknowledgment of weakness, China on Sunday announced a plan to attract more foreign investment and boost its stagnating economy. The 24-point plan aims to improve the climate for FDI, which has taken a hit from the Communist Party’s unpredictable and occasionally hostile policies towards foreign companies.

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A worker works at a workshop of a textile company in Binzhou city, East China's Shandong province.

Reuters

China flirts with deflation. Why is that a bad thing?

Times are tough in the world’s second largest economy. After several years of on-and-off-again pandemic lockdowns, China’s economic rebound remains limp. Even the notoriously tight-lipped politburo of the Chinese Communist Party recently nodded to the economy’s “tortuous progress.”

While much of the rest of the world contends with inflationary pressures, many economists say China is tussling with the inverse phenomenon: deflation.

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