China Scrambles to Stave Off Economic Meltdown

The specter of a prolonged global recession has dampened China’s wish for a world financial order less dominated by the United States and its dollar, giving way to more urgent dealings with recession worries at home.

As every day brings news of more factory closures and social unrest all over the country, Beijing has swung into a crisis management mode, mandating a sober media tone and attempting to shore up public confidence.

Over the last few weeks the lead pages of major Chinese news outlets have been headed by titles like “coping with crisis” and “withstanding the financial tsunami.” Where once editorials and commentaries were ubiquitously calling for an end to American-style capitalism and the global sway of the dollar, these days the emphasis is on salvaging China’s own boat.

“It is not dissimilar to when you mobilise to go to war,” Liu Jin, an expert on capital markets at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, said. “We are in a crisis and the mood in the media is set to help the public cope with the crisis.”

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