The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.06 percent on Monday to close at 2653.15 points. It plummeted to 2647.92 points during the day. Foreign media noted China's stock market had hit its lowest in four years, and domestic opinions were also pessimistic about the market.
The connection between the stock market and the economy in China is not as close as that in developed countries. Whether people are pessimistic or optimistic about the stock market, that doesn't represent people's attitude toward the whole economy. But when economic downward pressures mount, a declining stock market augurs a more negative outlook than usual.
After years of anti-corruption and comprehensive management, China has improved its governance structure. Collective anxiety about corruption and the environment has been substantially relieved, and social equity has also improved. People have felt them in their daily life and the public's attention is shifting quietly.
Economic development is again becoming the public focus. Although Chinese people seem to have all kinds of complaints, what people talk about most today are areas that have the closest links to economic development such as employment, prices, taxes and pensions. People are paying more attention to whether China can maintain its development in the long run.
Some people in particular worry about to what extent the trade war will affect the Chinese economy. Since China has kept close economic relations with the US during 40 years of reform and opening-up, people don't know what decreased China-US trade will mean. The most effective way to encourage and unite society is to further activate the Chinese economy and increase people's sense of gain. Economic development will defuse external threats and internal confusion, and boost Chinese people's confidence.
Compared to governance issues like anti-corruption and improving fairness which touch upon certain groups' interests, developing the economy is relatively easy to realize positive results.
China has rich experience in developing the economy and the government is familiar with the impact it exerts on politics and society. Reform of recent years has removed obstacles and squeezed bubbles, improving the macro-economic environment for further development.
In the past 40 years, China has finished a massive amount of construction, but in a somewhat crude fashion. The country still boasts strong development potential. Its infrastructure construction and public welfare has left many fields needing improvement. For example, as China transforms from one-child family to two or more children, that will bring about profound changes to the welfare system. The aging population problem will not just be a burden on society, but also creates a new business opportunity. Chinese are requesting better healthcare and education, areas of new growth potential.
Despite some worries, the Chinese public is optimistic about the country's future. People see most problems the Chinese economy currently faces as interim and technical. Few think they are a ceiling on China's development.
With its population size and modernization shifting from the center to cities all over the country, Chinese are fully capable of injecting momentum into China's development and boosting its quality.