China

In an antipoverty push, President Xi wants to repopulate rural towns with entrepreneurs and consumers. China’s rural poor have been a tool of Communist Party strategy since Mao Zedong rallied them in his revolution.

The idea of a free Hong Kong, kept alive by successive generations, is crashing around them. The lawyer’s moderate brand of activism has been rendered unviable or illegal. And once a symbol of the city’s democratic promise, Mr. Lee himself is becoming marginalized.

China’s trade surplus with the U.S. and the rest of the world widened in October as the global recovery buoyed demand for made-in-China goods, helping export growth beat market expectations for a seventh straight month.

Police arrested seven opposition figures, including four sitting pro-democracy lawmakers, and charged them with offenses related to a scuffle that broke out in the legislature earlier this year.

The Communist Party’s economic blueprint for the next five years sounds a defiant note in the face of U.S. sanctions against Chinese firms, while also targeting per-capita GDP on par with that of countries like South Korea and Spain.

With a push from the government, angry mobs online have swarmed any criticism of Chinese leaders or perceived disloyalty to their country. Targets are being harassed and silenced, and some have lost their jobs.  

Hopes are rising that China can pull the globe out of its coronavirus-induced funk, much as it did during the global financial crisis more than a decade ago—but economists offer a long list of reasons to be skeptical.

A rebound in global demand and the Chinese government’s supportive measures bolstered factory activity and helped push sentiment in the service sector to its highest level in nearly seven years.

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