China’s abrupt decision to pause releasing data on its soaring youth jobless rate this week was the latest sign the Asian giant is increasingly restricting sensitive information - especially when it’s unflattering to the nation’s faltering economy.

The unemployment rate of people aged 16-24 fell into that prickly category, after hitting a record of 21.3% in June. One fifth of young people being out of work is a troubling statistic for a ruling Communist Party obsessed with maintaining social stability.

As China’s economy battles a slew of threats to its economic expansion target for 2023, a wider range of data is being deemed unsuitable for public consumption. President Xi Jinping’s ideological battle with the US has also motivated Beijing to ringfence data it believes could advantage the Biden administration.