HONG KONG — China’s factories are beginning to hum again. Its consumers are opening their wallets. Its trade tensions with the United States are easing.

On paper, the world’s second-largest economy looks as if it may be shrugging off its worst slowdown in nearly three decades. China is widely expected to report economic growth figures on Friday that suggest its economy is stabilizing after a year of consecutive quarterly declines. Wall Street is already celebrating.

Dig a little deeper, however, and difficult problems quickly become apparent. China’s economy, a major engine of global growth, still faces some of its biggest challenges since it began opening up to the outside world four decades ago.

Some of China’s economic figures look better in part because they were notably weak a

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