Media upbeat on economy despite slowdown

Media say China's economic slowdown is no cause for concern Image copyright AFP
Image caption Media say China's economic slowdown is no cause for concern

Media are expressing confidence in the Chinese economy despite latest figures that suggest it has grown at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis.

Official data released on Tuesday showed that the gross domestic product rose by 7.3% in the third quarter from a year earlier, but still marked its weakest performance since March 2009.

Experts interviewed by the China Daily believe that growth will improve in the last quarter of the year.

"Exports and consumption are likely to remain stable, while investment will probably stabilise. Given the favourable comparison base of last year, fourth-quarter growth could pick up slightly to 7.4%," predicts Tang Jianwei, an economist at the Bank of Communications.

Describing the data as a "new normality" that is "stable", a report in the People's Daily points out that China's "economic growth structure continues to improve" and it is achieving a "better quality of growth".

The overseas edition of the paper adds that though the growth has slowed down, the economy is still "operating within a reasonable range".

Noting that the slowdown is "not good news for those seeking short-term returns", the China Daily points out in its editorial that the cooling off of the economy is not surprising.

"It is part of a process of trade-offs, with their inevitable pains, that the economy must go through to shed outdated, less-productive capacity and make room for new and more creative business initiatives," the paper explains.

It argues that government departments are now "more prudent in their fiscal planning and more responsible for the consequences of their financial decisions", and that the property sector is seeing a "noticeable pause".

"All of these factors are likely to protect the economy's health and growth potential in the long run. China has earned that benefit by paying the very small price of 0.2 percentage points in its quarterly GDP results," it notes.

Dismissing suggestions that the slowdown is "bad news", the Beijing Youth Daily hails the economic policies of the government.

"The current economic developments are a result of the pro-active and deliberate management of the government which exercises flexibility. As long as there is no major fault in implementing these policies, the situation will not go out of hand," assures the paper.

Hong Kong unrest

Meanwhile, media continue to warn about the "consequences" of the protests in Hong Kong after officials in the territory ended their first round of talks with students.

The protesters reiterated their demand for an unrestricted choice of candidates in the election for the territory's chief executive in 2017.

Several papers, including the Beijing News and the People's Daily report on the talks but fail to mention the demands of the students.

The papers also highlight the "negative impact" of the protest movement and say that 61 police officers were injured while carrying out their duties.

"Some foreign media outlets have commented that the Hong Kong police are 'as gentle as a nanny' compared to police in the US who behave like 'wolves and tigers'," writes the overseas edition of the People's Daily.

The paper adds that there are "foreign influences" in the movement and reiterates that the demands of the protesters "will not be accepted" by the central government in Beijing.

Echoing similar views, the Global Times urges the protesters to "wake up" and not to "act as a puppet of those hostile external forces".

"If the Occupy Central forces keep advancing, this will attract more international anti-China forces. The longer the protests last, the harder it will be for the Occupy Central forces to back down," it warns.

And finally, alleged negative Taiwanese perceptions of mainland China are once again in the media spotlight because of a debate sparked by a "urinating" incident.

According to a report in Taiwan's Apple Daily, a mainland Chinese tourist let her three-year-old boy urinate in a plastic bottle during a meal in a restaurant in Taipei even though there was a toilet nearby.

The report was widely circulated online and sparked heated discussions in both Taiwan and China, with netizens criticising the behaviour of the Chinese tourist.

The saga, however, took an unexpected turn when the woman called the Apple Daily to clarify that she was in fact Taiwanese and was just changing her son after he spilled water on himself.

Commenting on the "fake news exaggerated by Taiwanese media outlets", an article in the Haiwai Net criticises the press in Taiwan for "holding on to their prejudice" towards mainland Chinese.

"Firstly, they still think China is backward, autocratic and foolish… Secondly, Taiwan has always thought that besides the US and Japan, all other countries are undeveloped," says the article.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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