China is on the cusp of surpassing the US as the world’s biggest economy based on purchasing power, at least a decade sooner than many expected. That is the conclusion of the April report of the International Comparison Program, undertaken under the auspices of the World Bank – a report that China apparently tried to suppress. Those familiar with the effort indicate that Chinese advisers and surrogates waged a rearguard effort for at least a year, seeking to undermine the methodology and data on which the work was based.
On one level, China’s resistance to being labelled number one is somewhat at odds with the country’s longstanding obsession with building wealth and power. Chinese officials might be expected to bask in such statistical accolades, given the relentless quest the nation has undertaken. But instead the Chinese leadership has demurred, doing everything in its power to discredit the report and distance itself from the conclusion. Continue reading »