Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his New Year's Eve speech, addressed the economic challenges currently facing China. This year's address marked a departure from his previous New Year messages since 2013, as it was the first time Xi openly discussed the nation's economic struggles.
China, the world's second-largest economy, is encountering significant hurdles, including a structural slowdown characterized by weak demand, rising unemployment, and declining business confidence.
In his televised speech, Xi recognized the hardships faced by Chinese businesses and job seekers.These words, heavily circulated by state media, reflect a growing concern at the highest levels of government about China's economic trajectory.
"Some enterprises had a tough time. Some people had difficulty finding jobs and meeting basic needs,” he stated.
Xi emphasized his commitment to these issues, assuring that they "remain at the forefront of my mind," and promising to "consolidate and strengthen the momentum of economic recovery." The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) underscored these challenges hours before Xi’s speech, releasing data showing a decline in factory activity in December to a six-month low.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 49, dipping below the threshold that separates expansion from contraction.
Xi’s Stance on Taiwan
In the same speech, Xi Jinping reiterated China's stance on Taiwan, emphasizing the goal of reunification.
He employed assertive language to convey Beijing's longstanding position on the self-ruled island democracy.
“China will surely be reunified, and all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose and share in the glory of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Xi declared.This statement comes just two weeks ahead of Taiwan's presidential elections on January 13 and strikes a more pointed tone compared to his address from the previous year. Xi has consistently framed the control of Taiwan as a key element of his broader ambition to restore China to a global position of power and influence.
The Chinese Communist Party, which has never controlled Taiwan, maintains a claim over the island and does not dismiss the possibility of using force for reunification.