Change of government role is key to reform

Updated: 2013-12-04 07:56

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily)

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What she said in her book reminds me of the criticism many have imposed on the Chinese government for its involvement in the market. Some firmly believe that a government should never participate in business and the invisible hands of market forces should be given free rein.

However, every government plays a role in the market in one way or another. It is unfair to point the finger at the Chinese government for all the problems that have arisen along with the country's rapid economic development. And it is naive to think that all the problems will disappear on their own when the government relaxes the control it exerts over the economy.

The financial crisis that broke out on the Wall Street in 2008 shows how the intrinsic malice of capitalism and laissez-faire can become a monster that knows no limit in its pursuit of the maximum interest.

What the Chinese government has done in canceling a lot of approval procedures and delegating numerous items for local government approval sends an explicit message that it is changing the way it gets involved in the market and will keep a distance from immediate and direct participation in business, which will reduce the chances of interference in business by officials' abuse of power. This is undoubtedly the right thing to do for the government.

However, this does not mean that the government should just stand idly by as an onlooker.

To regulate market order in accordance with the law and keep an eye on business operations lest some bend the rules in one way or another in order to gain the maximum interest is the role the government will now try to adapt itself to.

The subtlety with which the government at all levels can play this role well is no easier to handle than what it used to do with its former role. This is also where the success of the reforms lies.

The author is a senior writer of China Daily.

(China Daily 12/04/2013 page8)

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