Former World Bank chief economist and senior adviser to the Chinese government Justin Lin has criticized widespread pessimism among economists and investors about the outlook for the world's second-largest economy and predicted it would grow between 7.5 percent and 8 percent for the next 20 years.
Mr Lin's comments come amid rising alarm at China's slowing growth, which appears to be on track for its poorest performance since 1990. That year the country was facing international sanctions in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The lowest rate of growth since then was 7.6 percent in 1999.
"In the past 33 years the prediction about the coming collapse of the Chinese economy has appeared periodically and that kind of prediction was cherished by many people," Mr Lin said on Monday. "I'm reasonably confident the Chinese government has the ability to maintain a 7.5 to 8 percent growth rate."
(Read More: China risks following Japan into economic coma)
Mr Lin said his prediction was partly predicated on Beijing continuing to implement market-oriented reforms and taking counter-cyclical measures to stabilize growth when it slows. He said China still has the "advantage of backwardness" and the potential for technological catch-up when compared with advanced economies. He pointed out that China's per capita income was just 21 percent of the U.S. in 2008 in purchasing power terms – a comparable level to Japan's in 1951, Singapore's in 1967 and South Korea's in 1977.
In recent weeks there have been increasing signals that Chinese leaders' tolerance for lower growth rates is being tested and the economy may be slowing more than they had anticipated. China's recently-installed premier, Li Keqiang, has emphasized the government's commitment to maintaining "economic stability" and relatively high growth rates.