BEIJING, Jan. 5 -- Unemployment driven by the global financial crisis could cause social unrest in China, although the economy looks set to reach its annual growth target of 8 percent, according to a survey of leading Chinese economists.
Han Kang, vice-president of the National School of Administration in Beijing, warned that rising unemployment, particularly among university graduates and migrant rural workers could lead to unrest unless it was tackled urgently.
Han was one of 13 leading economists interviewed in a survey by"Outlook Weekly" magazine published by Xinhua, who predicted economic growth would fall in the first half of 2009, but surge back above 8 percent later in the year.
"Unemployment among university graduates and migrant workers, caused by the global economic downturn and the shrinking of exportindustries will put much stress on Chinese society in 2009, even social risks," Han said.
"The 4-trillion-yuan stimulus plan, intended to boost the economy and ensure the 8 percent growth rate, may not create as many steady jobs as expected," he said.
The U.S. economic downturn would curb China's exports growth inthe medium term, said Wang Xiaoguang, director of Research Institution under National Development and Reform Commission.
Other economists in the survey included Jia Kang of the Ministry of Finance, who said, "The economic figures for the firstquarter will be a little unpleasant, however, the economic trend of 2009 is still optimistic with a predicted annual growth of around 8.5 percent."
Zhang Liqun, researcher with the State Council Development and Research Center, said "The recent macro-management policies will result as a strong curb on the falling economic growth in about six months."
Most economists agreed the second half would be a turning pointas the looser monetary and fiscal polices gradually took effect.
Abundant savings, a secure and sound banking system, multi-level market demand and powerful government mobilization were the four factors that contributed to China's prospects, said economists.
The government was still aiming at an 8 percent economic growthrate for 2009 despite challenges, Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said at a financial conference last month.
China's economic growth slowed to 9.9 percent in the first three quarters of 2008 after five years of double-digit increases.The annual economic growth of 2008 is estimated at around 9 percent by the economists.