It is somewhat ironic that the Chinese version of dialectical materialism is now fraying at the edges due to geo-political and economic concerns.
Hu Sees China Losing Its Competitive Edge
President Cites Reduced Global Demand
By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, December 1, 2008; A12
BEIJING, Nov. 30 -- Chinese President Hu Jintao warned at a weekend meeting of the Communist Party's elite Politburo that China is losing its competitive edge as international demand for its products is reduced, according to official state media reports Sunday.
China's growth rate has been forecast to be about 9 percent in 2008, down from 11.9 percent the year before and close to the 8 percent that economists say China must maintain in order to keep the labor market stable.
"China is under growing tension from its large population, limited resources and environment problems, and needs faster reform of its economic growth pattern to achieve sustainable development," Hu said, according to the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper. He did not provide specifics.
"External demand has obviously weakened, and China's traditional competitive advantage is being gradually weakened" as international demand is reduced, Hu told members of the Political Bureau of the party's Central Committee, according to the state-run New China News Agency.
Protectionism has also started to increase in investment and trade, Hu added. China's export growth in October was 19.2 percent, down from 21.5 percent in September.
His comments came as China prepares to celebrate next month the 30-year anniversary of the opening and reform policies begun by Deng Xiaoping, who led the country from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. The anniversary has prompted both hard-liners and reformers to weigh in on the path China must now take, and Hu is striving to strike a balance.
A recent editorial in the People's Daily, for example, urged China to master information technology in order to get its message out and "safeguard the nation's ideological security." The piece, by a general named Xu Tianliang, underscored a deep debate within the party about how to commemorate the anniversary, said David Bandurski, a researcher at Hong Kong University's Journalism and Media Studies Center.