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As Premier Li Keqiang guides China toward lower growth rates, economists everywhere are grappling with this question: How slow is too slow for the world’s second-biggest economy?

Number-crunchers have traditionally believed that China must grow at least 7 percent to 8 percent annually to generate enough jobs and prosperity to keep protesters from flooding Tiananmen Square. But what if China is already operating at a significantly lower rate of output — more like 5 percent — without a significant uptick in unrest? And what might that mean for Asia’s economic outlook over the next five years?

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