The Global Times opinion isn’t very well argued, but insofar as it is criticizing the paper for its distinctively Westernized construction of the ideological spectrum, it has a point. While economic liberalism is positively correlated with economic growth, political liberalism is not. As a study by Lant Pritchett and Lawrence H. Summers concludes:
… nearly every country that experienced a large democratic transition after a period of above-average growth (more than the cross-country average of 2 percent) experienced a sharp deceleration in growth in the 10 years following the democratizing transition. Among 22 countries in which episodes of large democratic transition coincided with above-average growth, all but one (Korea in 1987 with an acceleration of only 0.22 percent) experienced a growth deceleration. The combination of high initial growth and democratic transition seems to make some deceleration all but inevitable. The magnitude of the decelerations was very large: The median deceleration across the 22 countries was 2.99 percent and the average deceleration was 3.53 percent.
(Yasheng Huang makes a spirited contrary case.)