China’s new premier woos business as Xi doubles down on security | Business and Economy

China’s new premier woos business as Xi doubles down on security | Business and Economy

Li Qiang said China welcomes investment and private enterprise despite crackdowns.

China’s new premier insists the country is open for business despite crackdowns on private enterpriseeven Chinese leader Xi Jinping has dubbed security as “the basis of development”.

Addressing the final day of China’s crucial rubber-stamp parliament session, Li Qiang said China welcomes investment and continues to improve its business climate, including protecting companies’ property rights and interest of businessmen.

“Economic development is the key solution for creating jobs,” Li said Monday at a televised press conference to mark the closing of the National People’s Congress.

As No. 2 Chinese official Li, a former Communist chief in Shanghai, has been tasked with reviving the world’s second-largest economy after ending its strict “zero-COVID” policy of lockdowns, mass testing and quarantine.

Li, who was officially named as premier on Saturday, said meeting China’s economic growth target of 5 percent by 2023 would be “no easy task” and would require officials to “redouble our efforts”.

But Li said the public is also not primarily focused on the country’s economic indicators, but on “specific issues” such as employment, income, education, housing, and health care.

China’s outgoing Premier Li Keqiang last week announced the country’s lowest growth target in decades as Beijing faces major long-term economic challenges, including a low birth rate, high tensions with the United States and uncertainty caused by regulatory crackdowns on private industries from technology to education and real estate.

Li spoke as Xi, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, reiterated the importance of national security and called for military development into a “Great Wall of steel”.

Alfred Muluan, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said Li’s remarks would do little to reassure investors that China is deviating from a growing emphasis on security. and nationalism.

“China’s domestic economy is definitely not going to be good because COVID has hit China’s economy hard. I don’t think they will recover soon, although Li is very optimistic about China’s economic outlook,” Wu told Al Jazeera.

“I don’t think he really assured people that China would return to its old pro-business environment.”

Li, considered one of Xi’s most trusted confidantes, also took aim at the US for its “encirclement and suppression” of China.

“China and the United States must work together, and must work together. When China and the US work together, we can achieve a lot,” Li said.