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Dropping Growth Target, China Acknowledges Severity of Economic Challenges

BEIJING—Under leader Xi Jinping, China has established itself as an increasingly assertive global player, pushing back forcefully against challenges at home and abroad.

But even as Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong and steps up its rhetoric against the U.S., senior leaders bowed to the inevitable on Friday, acknowledging the scope of the challenges facing the economy—the bedrock of much of the country’s recent strength.

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