Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Workers on the production line in Hebei Province, China.Credit: chinahbzyg, Shutterstock On July 16, China announced that in the second quarter of this year, its economy grew 3.2 percent, a remarkably strong showing at a time when much of the global economy is in tatters because of the ongoing effects of a global pandemic. The figure suggested that China, once again, could lead the global economy during an economic and financial crisis. But a closer reading of the data points to a much darker picture, for China and the rest of the world — including signs that structural problems at home could have deep and lasting negative effects on China and the global economy. The most serious problems could even exacerbate inequality, at home and abroad. Let me explain. My reading of recent economic data released by China indicates that while it’s headline growth is strong, domestic consumption is weak and the country’s massive workforce of migrant and unskilled labor — workers who are the backbone of this “workshop of the world” — are being hit hard.While some figSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.