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March 08, 2024
Focus This Week
A community space to discuss the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

Dear Focus Reader,

China's annual Two Sessions opened this week, marking a critical juncture for the country's economic and political landscape.

On Tuesday, Premier Li Qiang delivered his first government work report on the opening day of the National People's Congress, unveiling China's GDP growth target of around 5 percent for 2024. Additionally, he emphasized Beijing's commitment to creating more than 12 million new urban jobs, while maintaining the urban unemployment rate at 5.5 percent and inflation at 3 percent. However, questions remain on how the country will address its economic challenges, including a real estate downturn, local government debt woes, and declining foreign investment.

This year is also the first time in three decades that China's premier will not host a press conference at the end of the sessions, which has historically been one of the few opportunities for foreign press to engage with high-ranking officials. The press conference has served as a key opportunity to explain China's big-picture policies to domestic and global audiences, and some view the cancellation as a sign that Beijing wants to centralize control of its narrative even more tightly.

And despite speculations prior to the sessions, personnel appointments are missing from the sessions' agenda, so it appears that no personnel appointments will be announced, suggesting that current vacancies in the state council and central military commission will remain vacant for a while.

Ahead of the meetings, Foreign Minister Wang Yi also spoke to tensions between China and the U.S., warning that conflict between the two countries would have "unimaginable consequences."

While he mentioned that bilateral relations have improved since the meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in San Francisco last year, "Washington's misperceptions about China still linger and its promises have not been fulfilled."

For more on China policy, catch up on our latest Focus content, including topics covering AI cooperation, trade and economy, and China's role in the Middle East.

Focus Insights
Quote of the Week
"As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China bears major-country responsibility in the building of peace in the Middle East. It is therefore impossible for China to ignore and stand idly by."
He Wenping
Research Fellow, West Asia and Africa Studies Institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences

Read More

Notable Number

With 45% of the global population and contributing around 36% of global GDP in purchasing power parity terms, the expanded BRICS alliance underscores its substantial impact on the world economy and demographics.

Learn more in "BRICS Positions Itself for Leadership of Developing World," by Sajjad Ashraf, a former adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore.

Discover More
A look into cultural stories from our affiliate platform, The China Current.

Sara Jane Ho | Women at WEF

Watch Video

In honor of International Women's Day, The China Current released the first part of its "Women@WEF" series today, featuring an interview with Sara Jane Ho at the World Economic Forum.

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Question of the Week:

In our Focus Insights section, we shared an article by Brian Wong where he discusses Hong Kong's potential as a platform for Sino-American AI cooperation.

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In your opinion, what specific areas of AI cooperation between the U.S. and China could benefit from Hong Kong's involvement?

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About Focus This Week

Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China and the U.S. every week. It is a community space to exchange thoughts and ideas about the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

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