There may be a sub-text or an agenda here (and it is the Guardian after all) but I am loss to readily identify one. Hence, it is hard to judge just how much credence to give a story like this. In its favour, it is consistent with other news emanating from China:
According to government officials, the amount of economic activity in China soared to RMB7.9 trillion (£570bn) in the first nine months of the year, putting China on course to achieve a growth rate of 8.5% for 2003 – the fastest in more than five years.
If the country can maintain this pace it will overtake Britain and France to become the world’s fourth biggest economy well before the end of 2005.
Chinese government officials? The Guardian? Oooh, my ‘Source-Warning’ indicator is blinking furiously. Still, it would not and should not be surprising that a country which has ditched socialism should outperform two countries that are still wedded to it.