China inches towards stimulus as the economy slows

WHEN Wang Xianchen, a Chinese official in the early 1500s, tired of the scheming of imperial politics, he returned to his home in the southern city of Suzhou for a simpler life. He planted gnarled trees and built up rocky islets, creating what he called the “Humble Administrator’s Garden”, a fine place for tranquil contemplation. His garden remains stunning. But its tranquillity is long gone. During the first week of October, China’s National Day holiday, some 30,000 people walked over its stone arch bridges every day, with queues to get in stretching around the block. They were among the 726m visitors to domestic tourist sites during the week, a record and a rise of 9% on last year’s figure. China’s present-day administrators, less humble, touted this as proof of the economy’s resilience despite a growing catalogue of concerns.

The backdrop certainly looks ominous. The trade war with America is heating up. In a speech on October 4th, Mike Pence, the vice-president, accused China of…

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