Open thread with six kickoff questions

I am hoping you all can talk amongst yourselves and not just ask me questions. I will be lurking and may jump in but collectively you all know so much more about China. To kick it off I have six questions about which I would love to hear your thoughts:

  1. How much longer can the economic slowdown continue before we start seeing large numbers of business failures and unemployment becomes an issue?

  2. Can the government avoid large-scale stimulus and credit expansion given the economic damage? And what happens to the supremely important real estate market? SARS hit at the dawn of the commercial and residential real estate markets in the PRC and so it turned out to be a great buying opportunity. Will the effect of the COVID-19 epidemic be different?

  3. You know my three signs to look for to be confident the outbreak really is under control in China - Xi visits Wuhan; The announcement of a date for the “Two Meetings”; Kids go back to school. Are these the right signs? What others might there be?

  4. Are the the positive energy and censorship efforts of the propaganda department working, such that outside observers risk focusing too much on some of the online grumbling as a sign of real political challenges to the Party and Xi?

  5. If China really has this virus nearly under control and can get the economy restarted in fairly short order, do Xi and the Party actually come out of this tragedy stronger? How would significant outbreaks in other countries reflect on Xi and the Party?

  6. How should the US government react to the expulsion of the three Wall Street Journal reporters?

Today’s discussion is for paying subscribers only, and there will be a regular newsletter later today.

Thanks, Bill