Beijing will target a lower rate of growth in 2014 than this year, potentially setting the tone for other cities and provinces as China’s economy slows and leaders seek to de-emphasize expansion at any cost.
The city’s target for economic growth next year is about 7.5 percent, Guo Jinlong, Beijing’s Communist Party secretary, said in remarks made at a meeting Dec. 23 and printed today in People’s Daily, published by the party. That’s a half percentage point lower than the 8 percent expansion goal in 2013.
The change is part of efforts by President Xi Jinping to have local officials focus less on short-term economic growth and more on measures including debt levels and environmental protection. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News this month see national expansion slowing to a 24-year low of 7.4 percent next year from 7.6 percent in 2013, based on median estimates.
“Don’t judge who the hero is by gross domestic product, and don’t be troubled by the gross domestic product growth rate and rankings,” said Guo, the top party official for the city of Beijing, according to People’s Daily. The lower goal is aimed at securing employment and stabilizing market expectations, Guo said.
The target for 2014 is “not low” and is in line with an adjusted long-term plan, Guo said, without being more specific. The city government proposed in September that the annual growth goal for the five years through 2015 be cut to about 7.5 percent from 8 percent, People’s Daily reported at the time.
The standing committee of the Beijing people’s congress on Sept. 27 approved amendments to the current five-year plan, according to the panel’s website.