PI Hosts First Virtual “Decoding China” Event

In the Paulson Institute’s first Decoding China webinar series, hosted by its think tank, MacroPolo, Research Fellow Houze Song joined Damien Ma, Director, in a conversation about China’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and its medium-term prospects. The webinar was the first in a series of virtual events focused on offering expert insights on a variety of topics unpacking the current and complicated issues affecting US-China and beyond.

As the first major economy to begin the return to normalcy, all eyes are on China as it grapples with recovery. But beyond the immediate term, recent signals out of Beijing suggest that policymakers are also considering a medium-term strategy amid uncertainty. During the webinar, Ma and Song discussed topics, including the Chinese economy’s pace of recovery, China’s upcoming National People’s Congress, and lessons Beijing learned from previous economic crises.

“One of the key takeaways, as we have seen reflected in the writings and speeches of senior officials like Governor Yi Gang and Vice Premier Liu He, is that the headline numbers are not as important as other indicators, like productivity,” Song said, discussing the Chinese government’s reaction to the Asian Financial Crisis and the Global Financial Crisis.  “We can say on the margins that the experience of the two financial crises may make Beijing less inclined to introduce stimulus.”

Ma and Song also fielded questions from webinar attendees during the live Q&A session, covering topics ranging from the Belt and Road Initiative to China’s long-term environmental goals.

“I don’t think in the medium-long term that China is going to abandon its commitment to the environment,” Ma said in response to a question about COVID-19’s impact on China’s environmental goals. “If Beijing is smart, they’ll look to the energy-efficient environmental industries as a growth driver as part of the recovery, and I would anticipate some of that to be built into the 14th Five-Year Plan.”

More details about the next event in the Institute’s Decoding China webinar series will be announced soon.