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China should abandon GDP target and focus on fighting crisis

Numerical goals do not mean much when people and businesses are suffering

| China
Xi Jinping talks by video with patients and medical workers at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan on Mar. 10: it is a suitable time to consider what the economic effect of the shutdown has been.   © Xinhua/AP

Nearly eight weeks have passed since the Chinese government locked down Wuhan, the city at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak. The epidemic now seems to have finally been brought under control, within the Chinese mainland at least, and business, driven to a near halt, is slowly restarting.

President Xi Jinping's visit to Wuhan on March 10 makes this moment a suitable time to consider what the economic effect of the shutdown has been, what it holds for the rest of the year and what that means for the government's vital growth target.

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