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China is finally facing up to the limits of economic stimulus

Country looks set to fall well short of annual growth target

| China
Decorative lights are turned off to save power in Shanghai on Aug. 22: Beijing may have to switch to serious helicopter money.   © VCG/Getty Images

Joe Zhang is co-chair of SBI China Capital Group in Hong Kong, a former economist at the People's Bank of China and the author of "Party Man, Company Man: Is China's State Capitalism Doomed?"

In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries gave subsidies to companies to retain staff and paid cash to citizens to ease the economic pain. But not China.

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