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 Shopping center in Beijing's upscale Sanlitun area. Consumer spending in China as a proportion of GDP has persistently lagged behind other major economies. Credit: Morio/Wikipedia NEW HAVEN – When it comes to the Chinese economy, I have been a congenital optimist for over 25 years. But now I have serious doubts. The Chinese government has taken dead aim at its dynamic technology sector, the engine of China’s New Economy. Its recent actions are symptomatic of a deeper problem: the state’s efforts to control the energy of animal spirits. The Chinese Dream, President Xi Jinping’s aspirational vision of a “great modern socialist country” by 2049, could now be at risk. At first, it seemed as if the authorities were concerned about a one-off personnel problem when they sent a stern message to the irreverent Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce platform. Ma’s ill-timed comments at a Shanghai financial forum in late October 2020 about the “pawnshop” mentality of the bank-centric Chinese financial system crossed the line for China’s leaders. Early the following month, a record $34 billion initial public offering for Ant GroSubscribe 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.