Business-govt relations getting better: NPC deputies

By Chen Qingqing and Xing Xiaojing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/8 22:28:40

Anti-corruption campaign has helped, but more should be done


Several deputies to the ongoing 13th National People's Congress have hailed the progress in forming close but transparent government-business relations in China, thanks to the unprecedented anti-corruption campaign in the past few years.

Since the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress held in 2012, an "eight-point" rule on austerity has imposed restrictions on officials' behavior.

"Officials used to strengthen their private relations with entrepreneurs in a bid to gain business advantages, but the large-scale anti-corruption campaign has helped in rooting out corrupt practices," Zeng Guang'an, an NPC deputy and chairman of Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

For example, for Chinese State-owned enterprises (SOEs), a major way of maintaining good relationships with relevant government officials in the past was having lavish dinners, he said.

"Usually, companies had dinners with local officials three or five times every month; now, it's less than five times a year," he noted.

Business-government relations have gradually improved in the past few years, Liu Yonghao, an NPC deputy and chairman of agriculture-focused company New Hope Group, was quoted as saying in media reports.

"Before, businessmen felt a lot of pressure when the Chinese new year loomed, as they had to spend time figuring out where to invite local officials for dinner, and what gifts to buy for them," he said, noting that this is not an issue anymore following the government's efforts to crack down on bribery.

Fifty-eight officials at the ministerial level or higher were punished for discipline violations in 2017, the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the CPC announced in January.

Also, Party discipline inspection agencies punished 527,000 people in 2017, ranging from warnings and demotions to expulsion from the Party and removal from office.

Still, some entrepreneurs have complained about continuing difficulties in the business environment due to abuse of power.

In February, Zhang Fangcheng, president of Linyi Jinfenghuang Property Co based in East China's Shandong Province, accused a local official of making life difficult for companies investing in the area. A month earlier, Mao Zhenhua, chairman of Heilongjiang Yabuli Sun Mountain Resort, said that local authorities had abused their power to impede the company's development.

"An oversight and accountability mechanism should be set up to improve the business environment, especially at the local level in the country," Li Xiaolin, an NPC deputy and founder of real estate giant Beijing Linda Investment Group, told the Global Times.

Although corruption has been curbed in recent years, the central government should be aware of "lazy governance" or administrative inaction, which can also hurt the business environment, Li said.

More developed countries have much better business environments, and local governments are more trustworthy, Zeng noted.

"In China, the business environment in more developed cities is generally better than in less developed areas," he said.

For example, after county officials get promoted, their successors do not handle the tasks left behind by those officials, which is a common situation in China, Zeng remarked. "More standardized investment procedures that are in line with laws and regulations should be followed," he noted.


Newspaper headline: Business-govt relations better: NPC deputies


Posted in: ECONOMY

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