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How has China changed under Xi Jinping, as shown in the 9 charts?

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HONG KONG — Chinese President Xi Jinping is poised to secure a historic third term in power as the biannual congress of the ruling Communist Party of China ends this weekend. Let’s take a look at how the country has changed under his ten years of rule:

increased growth

The economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with an average increase in annual gross domestic product of about 7% from 2013 to 2019. Since Xi took power in 2012, the country’s GDP has more than doubled, from $8.53 trillion to $17.73 trillion.

Much of this growth has been manufacturing, making China the world’s second largest economy since 2010, after the United States. But its leaders are trying to transition to a services and more consumption-oriented economy.

economic winds

A real estate crisis, tightening regulations, and a strict “zero-Covid” policy forcing millions to take to the streets have rattled the economy and spurred unemployment. Officials had set a growth target of 5.5% for this year, but stopped talking about it as the economy narrowly escaped contraction in the second quarter.

Unemployment is a particularly big concern among new university graduates, with millions of whom enter the job market each year.

The economy has also suffered from the government’s regulatory pressure on tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent, which wiped billions of dollars from their market values.

Military modernization

Xi launched an ambitious campaign to modernize and strengthen the military, increasing the number of aircraft carriers from one to three in the United States, and opening its first overseas base in the East African country of Djibouti. China’s annual defense spending has more than doubled since 2012, reaching $230 billion.

In the opening speech of the party congress in Beijing on Sunday, he called for even faster military development.

“We will enhance the military’s strategic capabilities to defend China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and see the people’s armed forces effectively fulfill their missions and duties in the new era,” Xi said.

Tension with the USA

American view of China has generally declined, especially among Republicans, as relations have been strained by issues such as Taiwan’s situation, China’s growing relationship with Russia, the coronavirus pandemic, and a trade war that began under then-President Donald Trump. It is widely accepted that US-China relations are at their lowest point since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1979.

Progress in poverty

According to the World Bank, China has lifted nearly 800 million people out of extreme poverty over the past 40 years, accounting for three-quarters of the reduction in extreme poverty worldwide.

The government attributes 100 million of them to Xi, who made poverty reduction one of its signature initiatives. Last February, it declared that it had completely eradicated extreme poverty, although experts questioned how China defined it.

Despite undeniable advances, the wealth gap continues to widen as rural residents still have less access to education and healthcare.

An impending demographic crisis

According to the World Health Organization, development has extended life expectancy in the country while also helping it become one of the fastest aging societies in the world, and the proportion of the population over 60 is expected to reach 28% by 2040, according to the World Health Organization. .

China sought to address the problem by ending its strict one-child policy in 2016, then further loosening measures that allow couples to have up to three children. But many Chinese express their reluctance to raise their families, citing the high cost of raising children and insufficient support for new parents. Last year, the country recorded 10.6 million births, up from 12 million in 2020.

hannah lee, Kriti Gandhi and Dorothy Cam contributing.