The New York TimesThe New York Times

From disciplinarian to cheerleader: Why China is changing its tone on business

By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Claire Fu

12 Jan 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

With the COVID-battered economy in a fragile state, Chinese officials are starting to use more business-friendly language. As the NYT points out, they are also backing their words with action.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, used his annual New Year’s Eve address in 2021 to laud the patriotic achievements of the Chinese people. In a year marked by crackdowns on tech companies, curbs on borrowing by the country’s property firms, and a refusal to budge on restrictive COVID policies, Xi made no direct mention of the economy or business.

In the first minute of his most recent address, Xi extolled the country’s economy, still the world’s second largest, and explained that China had cut taxes and fees as well as introducing measures “to ease the burden on businesses.” A few weeks earlier, at a meeting to lay out policy objectives for 2023, Xi and other top leaders expressed the need to bolster the economy and pledged support for the private sector.

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