One of China's most-watched pieces of economic data has been scrapped because of the coronavirus. Shed no tears. The decadeslong practice of setting goals for annual increases in gross domestic product had long passed its sell-by date.

In recent years, officials had constructed squishy language around the target, suggesting they would rather be done with the circus. Premier Li Keqiang's address Friday finally eliminated it. "Our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment,” according to the text of his speech to the National People's Congress, the rubber-stamp parliament.

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