Asia Minute: China Faces Year of Challenges, Anniversaries

Jan 2, 2019

Credit Craig Nagy / Flickr

Countries around the world are starting to get back to work after the New Year’s holiday. In the Asia Pacific, 2019 brings a number of challenges. And for one country, a number of anniversaries.

2019 is a year of round numbers for China.

January first marks 40 years since the United States recognized the People’s Republic of China — switching that recognition away from Taiwan. It’s also forty years since leader Deng Xiaoping made a visit to the U.S. that included several corporate stops – at company headquarters from Coca-Cola in Atlanta to Boeing in Seattle.

That symbolism of an economic opening was another new beginning.

2019 will also be 70 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party — and you can expect a lot of official celebrations to mark that occasion in October.

Several months before that will come a more somber remembrance – 30 years since Red Army tanks rumbled through Tiananmen Square in 1989. An anniversary certain to be marked with large demonstrations in Hong Kong.

In his New Year’s address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said 2019 will bring “opportunities and challenges.”

Shenzhen Stock Exchange
Credit Jay Sterling Austin / Flickr

He told a national audience “our pace of reforms will not stagnate, and the door to opening up will widen further.”

Trade talks with the United States will be an early challenge in 2019 – as will a slowing economy.

The World Bank predicts economic growth for China of just over six percent for the year . . . strong by global standards, but for China that would be the slowest growth in nearly thirty years.