China’s leader, Xi Jinping inspected fields of corn, visited steelworkers, and toured an innovation center.
Mr. Xi’s recent trips emphasize his keenness to retool the economy to be more self-sustaining in a post-epidemic world of ambiguity, resentment, and weakened demand.
“The world has entered a period of turbulence and transformation,” Mr. Xi told an audience of prominent Chinese economists in central Beijing late last month. “We face an external environment with even more headwinds and countercurrents.” China must “make breakthroughs in core technologies as quickly as possible”, he said.
After giving a technocratic name, “dual circulation” strategy in May, Mr. Xi tried to convey that China should depend on a vigorous cycle of domestic demand and innovation as the chief driver of the economy while keeping foreign markets and investors as the second engine of growth.
To some, Mr. Xi’s latest initiative looks like a lustrous reboot of longstanding efforts to overhaul the Chinese economy. Chinese leaders have promised since at least 2006 to make domestic consumer spending a bigger share of economic activity, lowering reliance on exports and infrastructure building — with mixed success.