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BEIJING (AFP) — China's economy slowed further in November, a senior official said Thursday, as he warned the government was being forced to act to avoid massive unemployment and social unrest.
Zhang Ping, the minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the sombre remarks at a briefing explaining recent measures to trigger domestic consumption and lift economic growth.
"In November, a number of economic indicators are showing accelerated decline. The production at some enterprises has encountered difficulties, especially enterprises that focus on exports," he said.
"Some companies have stopped all or part of their operations, and this will naturally have an impact on employment. In some areas we're seeing rural workers returning back home to the countryside."
He defended measures taken in the south of China to support struggling enterprises, with reports of local governments earmarking major funds aimed at keeping them in business.
"I think it's necessary. If too many enterprises suspend business or stop production, it will result in large-scale unemployment, and it could trigger social instability," he said