China bans writers from Weibo for comments on stocks, jobless rate

China banned Wu Xiaobo, a well-known finance writer, as well as two of his peers from writing on the Chinese social media platform Weibo for allegedly spreading “negative and harmful information” about the nation’s unemployment rate and the stock market. 

statement issued by the Twitter-like Weibo Monday said the writers have “attacked and undermined” China’s current policies and management systems. The statement and state media reports didn’t give details of what the finance writers had written or disclose the names of the other two.

The ban comes amid concerns that the nation’s economic recovery will slow without aggressive government stimulus. After a short-lived rally earlier in the year when China abruptly dropped Covid precautions, the stock market has struggled. On Monday, stocks declined in catch-up trade as weak holiday spending data added to a slew of data showing signs of a slowing economy. To top it off, the country’s youth unemployment rate has also continued to reach record highs, with economists saying that it may climb even more in coming months. 

This isn’t the first time that China has banned its economists from Weibo. Ren Zeping was banned from the social media platform in January last year after posting comments calling on the central bank to print $315 billion a year to pay for subsidies to encourage births. China’s birth rate, or the number of newborns per 1,000 people, declined to 6.77 in 2022, the lowest level since at least 1978. –BLOOMBERG