A worker assembles vehicles in a factory in Weifang, Shandong province, Jan 28, 2023. [Photo/CFP]
China's GDP growth was the top concern among global internet users, according to an online survey by China Daily's website and 10 global media outlets.
The survey's results are seen as a barometer of how people worldwide view the two sessions, which are the annual meetings of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). It asked respondents to choose the China-related topics they were most interested in ahead of the annual event.
In the survey, 20.06 percent of the respondents said that China's GDP growth was the most anticipated topic, followed by business and trade (16.66 percent), science-tech innovation (15.2 percent), environment (13.70 percent), politics (11.58 percent) and foreign policy (10.5 percent). A total of 8,290 people had submitted answers as of Monday.
The 10 participating overseas media organizations, including the Pakistan Observer and Viet Nam News, published the questionnaire online to collect responses from readers.
Among respondents, 51.02 percent said they have high confidence in China's growth.
The International Monetary Fund increased its forecast for China's economic growth to 5.2 percent in 2023 in its World Economic Outlook report. The updated number was 0.8 percentage point higher than the October forecast.
John Edwards, the United Kingdom's trade commissioner for China, said: "I think that's perfectly possible. In that report by the IMF, they said their revised growth figures for China were one of the reasons they were also revising the global figures as well in a more positive direction."
Regarding the two sessions, Edwards said, "We're expecting a kind of a raft of measures that will encourage consumption and stimulate the private sector, and keep the momentum of the Chinese economy, not just this year, but in subsequent years."
Roshan Khadka, editor-in-chief of the Nepalese website Kathmandu Pati, said the optimization of COVID-19 response and the recovery of consumption will underpin China's economic growth.
Global readers are also closely watching China's foreign policy. When asked what they wanted to know about China's diplomacy, 15.75 percent of survey respondents chose China-US ties as their main interest.
Aitizaz Hassan, a writer for Independent News Pakistan, said, "A normal China-US relationship could lead to increased trade and investment between the two countries, which could have economic benefits for both sides and help reduce tensions and improve political stability in the region."
"China and the US could have significant geopolitical implications, including the potential for greater cooperation on global issues such as economy, climate change and international security," Hassan added.
As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, 12.97 percent of the respondents said they will keep an eye on the BRI.
Necati Demircan, a journalist with the Turkish newspaper Aydinlik, noted that "a revival in world trade is provided by the BRI, which is one of the most important investment and development projects of the 21st century".
Demircan's expectation for the BRI is to use the Middle Corridor route more actively. The Middle Corridor is a Trans-Caspian International Transport Route that travels from China through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia and further on to Turkey and some European countries.
So far, 151 countries and 32 international organizations are participating in the BRI.
Visiting China is another big interest for global readers. In the survey, 76.74 percent of the respondents said they plan to visit China this year, with 46.87 percent planning to do so for leisure purposes and 18.03 percent for business.
Edwards said the optimization measures mean more tourism, more education exchange, more business exchange. "That is a wonderful thing, not just for our economies, but longer term for social interaction," he added.
Khadka said that he held business meetings in Beijing and Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, in Feb and will visit China again.
This year's annual session of the CPPCC National Committee will open on Saturday. The annual NPC session will open on Sunday.
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