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China’s Economy Grew Just 3% in 2022 

FILE - A woman and a child walk past workers sorting toys at a shopping mall in Beijing, Jan. 11, 2023.

China’s economic growth plunged to one of its worst levels in more than four decades due to the country’s strict response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Bureau of Statistics released data Tuesday that showed China’s economy grew by just 3% in 2022, far less than the 8.1% mark it reached the year before. It was the second-worst economic showing since the late 1970s, surpassed only by the 2.4% mark set in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

The world’s second-largest economy dropped 2.9% during the fourth quarter of last year, compared to 3.9% during the same period of 2021. Retail sales fell 1.8% in December.

Beijing had imposed a strict “zero-COVID” policy at the start of the pandemic, including swift and severe lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing in several cities with a significant COVID-19 outbreak. It triggered unusual and intense public protests across many Chinese cities and an economic downturn due to factory shutdowns.

The government abruptly reversed its strict “zero-COVID” strategy on December 7, but China is now battling a new wave of infections that has led to the deaths of nearly 60,000 people.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.