China's Politburo Standing Committee at the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Photo: AFP, Greg Baker
China's Politburo Standing Committee at the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Photo: AFP, Greg Baker
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China to set growth expectations at Sunday meeting

China's National People's Congress convenes this weekend to engage in a carefully scripted annual ritual. Few surprises can be expected, but observers will be listening carefully, nonetheless.

March 4, 2017 4:42 AM (UTC+8)

The annual convening of China’s National People’s Congress, or “two meetings” as it is refered to locally, will see government officials from all corners of China descend on Beijing this weekend. Besides the havoc the meeting will wreak on Beijing’s already hellish traffic, the event will showcase a carefully choreographed show of unity, and dominate China’s news cycle for the next week.

For outside observers it is unlikely exciting revelations will come to light, but seasoned China watchers will be scrutinizing carefully for clues as to policy direction for the coming year. Judging from statements from officials this week, this year’s meeting may be even more boring that usual with leaders emphasizing stability and reining in risk, as the challenges of managing a country seeing slower growth persist. Perhaps the most anticipated moment will be Premier Li Keqiang’s presentation of this year’s work report, outlining economic policy, during which he will set expectations for economic growth, likely to stay between 6.5% and 7%.

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