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Rising youth joblessness a political danger, top China adviser has warned

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul03’23) – A prominent Chinese economist who has advised President Xi Jinping’s government has warned in a report co-authored by him that the country’s growing youth unemployment rate could trigger political problems if not properly handled, reported bloomberg.com Jul 3.

“The issue of youth unemployment will likely continue for the next decade and continue to worsen in the short term,” Liu Yuanchun, who has provided guidance to Beijing on the economy, including by giving a lecture to the top decision-making Politburo in Apr 2022, has said.

“If not handled properly, it will spark other social problems beyond the economic arena, even becoming a trigger for political problems,” he has said in a joint report published last week by a Renmin University of China think tank, China Macroeconomy Forum.

Screenshots of the 110-page document were stated to have been shared on China’s Twitter-like Weibo over the weekend, with users highlighting the authors’ warnings on political risks.

The report noted that last year, Xi faced the biggest challenge to Communist Party power during his decade-plus tenure, when nationwide protests — led by students — erupted over strict Covid Zero rules, with some calling for the Chinese leader to step down.

China’s unemployment rate among those aged between 16 and 24 was stated to have reached a record 20.8% in May. The nation’s slowing economy combined with a flood of new graduates in the market are handing policymakers a challenge with few easy fixes, the report said.

The rising youth unemployment rate stems from a stagnating private sector scarred by Covid-19 restrictions, the report said, citing the report’s authors who also include Liu Xiaoguang, of Renmin University, and Yan Yan, from China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co.

“Adopting subsidy policies alone cannot fundamentally resolve the issue of insufficient private investment,” the authors have written. “The key lies in improving the rule of law, and improving the protection of private property rights, to make up for people’s loss of confidence in the rule of law since the pandemic.”

Identifying a clear way to defuse the pressure building among unemployed young people, Liu and his co-authors have said: “A more robust economic recovery and labor market recovery are needed.”

The crippling blow to the Chinese economy came from some of the world’s harshest anti-epidemic controls during the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic which originated in Wuhan city in late 2019 and rapidly spread across the globe over the next three years or so, ravaging economies, spreading misery, and exacting huge death tolls in countries across the world.

In Shanghai, for example, authorities put its 25 million residents under lockdown for nearly two months, erecting metal barriers outside residential compounds in a bid to eradicate community infections. Pandemic control enforcers even went into people’s homes to disinfect their clothes and furniture, with residents challenging the legality and scientific value of the practice, the report said.


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