Reassessing China's Economy in Uncertain Times

China is the second-largest economy in the world, and is inextricably intertwined with the world’s trade and financial networks. Its economy has been growing for over 30 years at an average rate of 6% annually, with little sign of slowing until now.

In 2008, in order to stave off the effects of the great recession, the central government initiated a series of vast stimulus packages to keep the economy on track. Now, as the national debt grows, and the country’s growth rate drops, the sustainability of continued stimulus at such scale is in question. The country also faces other considerable structural issues, such as the ever-present spectre of state-owned sector reform and a real estate market with an increasingly uncertain future.

As the adage goes: economic booms don’t die of old age. However, given current affairs, it would be wise to reassess China’s economy. This panel does exactly that, as well as hypothesising on the causes of an economic slowdown and perhaps even a downturn in the long term, and consider the domestic and global effects of a slowing Chinese economy.

Listen to the podcast: Reassessing China's Economy in Uncertain Times

Event recorded 10 December 2019.


Hannah Bretherton is a Research Affiliate of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London and foreign policy specialist. She is currently Member Relations Executive at the Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce, fostering strong business and trade relations between Australia and the UK and advising businesses working across both markets. She has worked in government, universities and think tanks. As a researcher on Australia-China relations, Hannah has published peer-reviewed academic journals in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, the China Economic Journal and the Australian Journal of International Affairs and has published analysis and commentary in The Diplomat, The Strategist, the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Outlook and the East Asia Forum. She was also a contributor to former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s report for the Harvard Kennedy School ‘US-China 21’.

Kent Deng research interests and writing includes the rise of the literati in the economic life of pre-modern China; the maritime economic history of pre-modern China; the economic role of the Chinese peasantry. Other key topics in his work are the developmental deadlock of the Chinese premodern economy; long-term demography of premodern China; early modern railway development in China; Chinese fiscal state and its impact on the economy. His recent publications include "Mapping China's Growth and Development in the Long Run, 221 BC to 2020" and "China's political economy in modern times: changes and economic consequences, 1800-2000".

James Miles took up his position as The Economist‘s China Editor in August 2014, having previously worked as Beijing Bureau Chief for 13 years. Before he joined The Economist in 2001 he reported on China for the BBC; as Beijing bureau chief from 1988 to 1994, Hong Kong correspondent from 1995 to 1997 and senior Chinese affairs analyst in London from 1997 to 2000. From 2000 to 2001 he was the editor of Strategic Comments and Research Fellow for Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. James has been interviewed on CNN, Channel 4 evening news, BBC One Ten O’Clock News, BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’, BBC Radio 5 Live evening news and ITV evening news, among others. He has written several special reports for The Economist on China and Taiwan.

Jeffrey Chwieroth is currently a Professor of International Political Economy in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics, where is he also co-investigator of the Systemic Risk Centre.  He is the author of The Wealth Effect: How the Great Expectations of the Middle Class Have Changed the Politics of Banking Crises (Cambridge University Press, 2019, with Andrew Walter, University of Melbourne) and Capital Ideas: The IMF and the Rise of Financial Liberalization (Princeton University Press, 2010), as well as numerous articles on the political economy of global finance.   His research has previously been supported by grants from the Australian Research Council, the AXA Research Fund, the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Economic and Social Research Council.