Chinese welcome National Day with full confidence in nation’s future
By GT staff reporters Published: Sep 30, 2022 12:38 AM
Children wave national flags with community volunteers at a kindergarten in Handan, North China’s Hebei Province on September 29, 2022 ahead of the National Day holidays. Photo: IC
With Chinese people preparing to embrace the National Day and enjoy the Golden Week holiday that runs from October 1 to 7, local governments are taking more measures to boost the holiday economy while at the same time fighting against COVID-19. Analysts said that even though some Western media have badmouthed China’s economy by smearing the country’s COVID-19 prevention measures, the resilience of the Chinese economy and remarkable recovery expectations ahead remain unchanged, with Chinese people having full confidence in the country’s prospects.
Tian’anmen Square, the place that witnessed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, has seen more visitors in recent days. On Thursday, two days before the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the PRC, joyful visitors were taking photos of a giant flower basket which had been installed as part of the holiday celebrations. Laughters together with voices speaking in different accents have been heard in every corner of the square.
Liu Bin and Zhang Yan, an elderly couple, were among those who came to visit Tian’anmen Square. They told the Global Times that this year’s National Day has special meaning as the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will soon take place, and this is why they have come to Beijing.
“We hope our country will always enjoy stability and peace and we seniors can always enjoy doing our square dance happily,” said Liu.
“This year has not been easy for many Chinese as the economy may be temporarily affected by sporadic Omicron outbreaks, but with the confidence in the CPC, the government and the country and with the preventive measures of COVID-19, we Chinese will achieve final success since we are going in the right direction,” another visitor in Tian’anmen Square told the Global Times.
The cheerful scenes taking place at Tian’anmen Square are only a small part of the national holiday festivities, with many experts anticipating that many consumption-related sectors, including tourism, catering and movies industries will boom despite the impact of COVID-19 onslaught in some areas.
Chinese people have full confidence in China’s economic development and despite some current obstacles to tourism, aviation and other industries, they still believe China can overcome all these challenges, Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, told the Global Times.
It is not strange to see Western media badmouthing China’s development, as this is what they have always done, Zhang said, adding that such moves are worthless as the West has fared worse during the pandemic.
Chinese railways are expected to see 68.5 million passenger trips during the 11-day-long National Day holiday travel rush, which lasts from September 28 to October 8, with some 6.23 million passenger trips to be made on average each day, according to data from China State Railway Group Co.
Moreover, bookings for travel during the Golden Week via domestic online travel agency Lvmama increased by 87 percent between September 11-20, compared with the previous ten days, with the volume of bookings continuing to grow, according to a report the agency sent to the Global Times on Thursday.
New leisure modes such as camping and rural tours have become widely popular during the week-long holiday, while 80 percent of the bookings are related to local and nearby tours, it said. The capital city of Beijing, Suzhou in East China’s Jiangsu Province and Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong Province are among the most popular destinations.
Along with the recovery of the tourism sector, the country’s aviation sector has also begun to rebound. Industry information provider VariFlight estimated that during the seven-day holiday, the average daily passenger flight volume will be around 10,000 flights, although this is still a decline of 20 to 30 percent from the same period last year. Total travel during the seven-day holiday could come to more than 7.8 million passenger trips, it told the Global Times.
In addition, hospitality, catering and movies will also benefit from the Golden Week holiday. Enjoying some fine dinners at restaurants listed in the Black Pearl Restaurant Guide has become a new trend in the food and beverage industry. According to data from tech and retail giant Meituan, the number of bookings for such restaurants during the Golden Week holiday grew 49 percent on a yearly basis, with the number in the capital city of Beijing soaring threefold year-on-year, media reports said.
Seven films are set to premiere during the National Day holidays. Four of these are “main melody” films – realistic patriotic works focusing on stories about the nation, the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army – and three are animated movies.
Data from Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan shows that the total pre-sale box office for these movies had surpassed 25 million yuan ($3.48 million) by Wednesday noon, with the film Home Coming, based on a true story about bringing trapped Chinese nationals back to their homeland, topping the list. That compares with total pre-sale box office of 200 million yuan for last year’s National Day holiday.
“Despite the recent impact of COVID-19, the National Day holiday will likely see the best economic performance among major holidays this year, thanks to the resilience of the Chinese economy and remarkable recovery expectations ahead,” Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday.
He said that a slew of policy incentives would stimulate a spending spree in the fourth quarter, a traditional spending peak season.
While most cities in the country prepare to enjoy the Golden Week holiday, some places are still fighting the latest flare-ups of COVID-19. On Thursday, Lei Zhenglong, deputy director of the National Health Commission’s Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control, told a press conference that some regions, including Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Heilongjiang Province, Xizang Autonomous Region and Guizhou are still suffering from outbreaks, but compared to August, the daily number of new cases is on the decline.
While focusing on areas that have discovered confirmed cases, the National Health Commission also reminded local governments to fully implement the targeted prevention policy and to avoid a “one-for-all” approach in dealing with the epidemic.
China’s epidemic situation has also caught the attention of some Western media. For example, Reuters reported on Thursday on the latest surges of COVID-19 and said in a report the country’s prevention measures will take the shine off the Golden Week holiday.
In response, experts noted that China has gained rich experience in implementing targeted prevention measures and most people will be able to enjoy their holidays by implementing the regular measures.
They also expressed strong confidence that China will seize a sound momentum to achieve a steady recovery of the economy and continue to forge ahead for high-quality development after the 20th National Congress of the CPC.
“The fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain unchanged, and the same goes for the overall trends of economic transformation, upgrading and high-quality development,” Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday. He cited the favorable conditions for the long-term sound development of the Chinese economy, such as its enormous market, complete industrial and supply chains and huge domestic demand.
“Based on the new development paradigm and supply-side structural reforms, the CPC and the central government may come up with more efficient macro-economic policies and favorable measures like tax and fee cuts after the 20th CPC National Congress,” Cong said.
Currently, localities are ramping up efforts to show their capabilities in a full-fledged battle to propel economic growth for the remaining of the year.
For example, Shanghai on Wednesday released a package of 22 new measures to fire up economic recovery and development of the services sector including tourism, exhibition, sports and aviation. According to a notice on the local government’s website, the government will step up bailouts of the services sector, expand effective investment and promote the release of consumption potentials, while efforts will be made to spark internal growth momentum of market entities.
Manufacturing and business activities in the major economic powerhouses showed stable performance with good momentum for growth year-on-year in August, driving the improvement of major economic indexes in the first eight months and extending the steady economic recovery trend.
In the first eight months of the year, the total foreign trade volume of Shanghai, a financial hub which was hit the hardest by Omicron early this year, stood at 2.7 trillion yuan, up 4.8 percent on a yearly basis, reversing a slight year-on-year drop in the first half of this year due to the impact of COVID-19, according to the local customs department.
Meanwhile, the city’s actual use of foreign capital between January and August reached $16.3 billion, up 8.4 percent year-on-year, data from the local statistics bureau showed.
Over the period, Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong Province continues to post consumption recovery, with total retail sales of 681.3 billion yuan, up 2.9 percent year-on-year, official data showed.