● The market for healthcare features uncertainty, lack of price elasticity, and information asymmetric, besides other market characteristics.
● The purpose of medical insurance is to eradicate uncertainty and bring about the utility of certainty by transforming the uncertainty of personal medical affairs into predictable risks through integration and professionalization.
● People tend to “buy more” and “buy the expensive” as insurances lower the part of the medical expenses borne by the individuals, which in effect pushes up the prices of health care, and the demand for medical services and goods. The overall effect is an increase of health care expenditure.
● Insurances pushes up 89% of the prices of China’s medical services and goods, leading to an over-expenditure of 16% of all the medical services and goods by consumers, which further increases the healthcare expenditure per capita to 119% of that without these insurances .
● Even though insurances bring about an increase of welfare by 2.25% of the GDP, compared to the loss caused by it, a net loss of some0.46% of the GDP, that is some RMB264 billion, is caused by insurances.
● By 2013, a total of some RMB45.7 billion has been wasted by the public healthcare system.
● The managerial cost of healthcare institutions, i.e., expenditure by healthcare administrations and cost of managing the healthcare insurances, skyrocketed year on year, and reached RMB 43.7 billion in 2014.
● Per capita medical expenses are rising, from 4.03% in 2008 to 5.22% in 2015. In 2015, the national total health expenditure accounted for 6.05% of GDP.
● Therefore, it is not enough to criticize only the use of healthcare insurances. See below:
Weighing the Gains and Losses of Insurance. Unit: Percentage of GDP per capita(%)
● Quality medical resources concentrate disproportionately in big cities and big hospitals, which causes insensible spatial allocation causing an overly high time cost and other indirect medical cost. In 2013, if we put together the overspent cost and time for local and cross-region healthcare services and goods, it equaled to a total waste of resources that priced some RMB445.2 billion a year.
● The growth of labor costs for doctors is lower than that of the per capita GDP. The proportion of labor costs for doctors in per capita GDP fell from 11.7% in 2002 to 3.3% in 2015.
● In an aggregate sense, the demand for healthcare increased 40 times from 1980 to 2014, while the number of licensed doctors only increased 1.51 times. Demand surpassed supply by a large margin.
● Average healthcare resources are distributed in a balanced manner across regions. It coincides with the resource allocation planning approach based on population taken by the Chinese government.
● Quality healthcare resources are distributed in a very imbalanced term with more resources concentrated in administrative centre. And this situation is exacerbating.
● Beijing is the “utmost unfair benefactor” of this distributional system of healthcare finance, while the “unfair victims” include provinces such as Henan, Anhui ,Hebei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Shandong.
● The unfairness index of the financial distribution system in the healthcare system is 0.344. According to our evaluation standard, this score is interpreted as intermediate.
● Civil servants are the “utmost unfair benefactor” in the current healthcare financial distribution system, while the “unfair victims” include farmers, urban residents, and urban workers.
● This research proposes the basic principles for institutional healthcare reform is taking the market institution as the basis, and government regulations as complement.
● The main measures proposed by this research include:
● Estimated according to the model in this research, setting 2014 as the baseline, the proposal of this research should be able to hold back a 62% increase of the price, which would save RMB 964.6 billion, 1.5% of the GDP.
● It would hold back some 17.5% of healthcare overuse, which would save up to RMB 471 billion, about 0.53% of the GDP.
● Some RMB1213 per person would be saved for healthcare, about 2.57% of GDP per capita, which rounds up to some RMB1649.7 billion nationwide.
● Those whose self-pay proportion exceeds their yearly income’s 40% constitute about 2.3% of the total population. If a severe disease fund is set up with a scale of about RMB 190 billion, it will be only about 0.29% of the GDP.
● If the monopoly is eliminated and competition is promoted, that is the slope of the supply function, e, changes from 0.47 to 2, then everyone would be able to save about RMB 112 for healthcare, a total RMB152.3 billion nationwide.
● Healthcare resources will be better allocated in space. If the distance and waiting time for medical treatment is shortened by half, that is the 4 hours needed for local treatment is shortened to 2 hours, then a total value of time amounting to about RMB 266.2billion will be saved; if the distance and waiting time for cross region treatment is shortened from 12.5 days to 6days and 6 hours, when a total value of time amounting to about RMB 29 billion will be saved. Putting them together, a total waste of time estimated for the value of RMB 295.2 billion will be avoided.
● Canceling out-patient(small illness) insurance would reduce 2/3 of the current insurance-related managerial operations, saving a total of RMB16.9 billion according to the current administrative fees of insurance agencies that is RMB 25.4 billion.
● When the increase of healthcare expenditures is contained, a huge amount of resources are saved, which will bring back the advantages of insurances. See blow.
Situation after the Reform Unit: Percentage of GDP per capita(%)
● In summary, this reform proposal will reduceper capita medical expenses from 5.08% to 2.51% of the per capita GDP, a decrease of 50.6%.
● This reform proposal will also reduce the per capita medical expenses originally covered by insurance from 3.1% to 0.9% of the per capita GDP, a decrease of 70.2%.
● If it is shown by the deduction of healthcare insurance fees for urban workers, the deduction from their monthly wage will be decreased from 9.5% to 2.8% of their monthly wage, which would also lower the burden for enterprises.
● Even though the self-pay fees account for a higher ratio than before, as the healthcare expenditure decreased in general, patients pay 86.6% of that they paid for their medical treatments before the reform.
Chapter I The Economic Subject and Market for Healthcare
Ⅰ. Patients: Before Professional Doctors, and the Basic Features of the Patients
Ⅱ.Doctor and Simple Healthcare Market
Ⅲ.Manufacturer of Medicine: After the Division of Medical Treatment and Manufacturing of Medicines
Ⅱ.Previous Study and Criticism of Insurance
Ⅳ.Insurance Paradox: Insurances Do not Reduce but Increase Healthcare Cost
Ⅴ. Other Issues with Insurances
Ⅵ Economic Subject and the Market in the Current Insurance Institution
Chapter III Government Intervention in Healthcare
I. Conventional Government Intervention in Healthcar
II. Intervention in Market Failures
Ⅲ.Intervention in Uncertainty: Government-Set Insurance Institution
Ⅳ.Government Intervention of the Insurance Institution
Ⅴ.Macroeconomic Impacts Caused by the Insurance Institution with Government Intervention
Ⅵ.Summary of the Theoretical Analysis
Chapter IV The Formation, Status and Issues of China’s Basic Healthcare System
I. China’s Healthcare Institution and Reforms
Ⅱ.The Institution and Policy Framework since the 2009 “New Healthcare Reform”
Ⅲ. Basic Framework and Features of the Current System
Ⅳ. Healthcare Insurance in China
Chapter V. Efficiency and Fairness Evaluation of the Resource Allocation in Healthcare Industry
I. Standard for the Efficiency and Fairness of the Institution
Ⅱ.Symptoms of Healthcare System Issues
Ⅲ.Institutional Analysis and Comment of the Current Healthcare System
IV. Efficiency of Resource Allocation in Healthcare
V. Fairness of Healthcare Resource Allocation
Ⅱ.Comparative Study of the Main Healthcare Systems in the World and Lessons to be Learned
Ⅲ.Institutional Reform of Healthcare Insurances
1.Institutional Reform of Insurance: Cancelling Compulsive Insurance and Establishing an Insurance Institution Where Market Comes First
IV. Reform of the Healthcare Service Institution
1.Canceling the Government Entry Regulation for Medical Professionals,and Substituting with Competitive Association Certifications
2.Cancelling Entry Regulation for Hospitals, and Substituting with Constraints by Association and Competition
V. Institutional Reform of the Manufacturing and Circulation of Medicines
1.Approval Mechanism for New Medicines Should Be Established on the Basis of Cooperation Between the Government and Technical Associations
VI. Supplementary Regulation in the Healthcare
VII. Estimation of Healthcare Reforms
Ⅱ.Experience of China’s Reforms
Ⅲ.Possible Issues and Solutions in the Healthcare System Reform
Ⅳ. Breakthrough of the reform
1.Cancelling of the Compulsiveness of the Social Healthcare Insurances, Promoting the Development of Commercial Insurances, and Free Choice of Insurances Forms by Individuals and Enterprises
2.Promoting the Development of Internet-Based Healthcare
Ⅴ. Reform Procedures
Ⅵ. Sequence of Reform
Subreport 1 International Comparative Study of Healthcare Systems
I. Brief Introduction of Main Forms of Healthcare System(Four Healthcare Insurance Systems)
Ⅴ.Brief Introduction of Germany’s Healthcare Insurance System
Ⅵ. Chinese Taiwan
1.Administrative Structure of Taiwan’s Healthcare
II .Wuhu(芜湖) Model
III. Suqian(宿迁) Model
1.Content of the Reforms
IV. Summary and Lessons from Domestic Healthcare Reforms
Ⅱ.An Economic Comparison
Subreport IV Status Quo and Development of Internet-Based Healthcare 305
Ⅰ. Status Quo and Issues with China’s Mobile Online Healthcare
Ⅱ.Status Quo and Development of Mobile Healthcare Applications in the US
III. Main Issues and Conclusion
List of Figures
Figure1.1 Estimation of Some Price Elasticity
Figure 2.1 Summary of the Influence of Co-Payment Insurance on Annual Average Healthcare Consumption according to Rand
Figure 2.2 Prices Comparison with and without Insurnaces
Figure 2.3 Numerical Ratio Matric(Rq)
Figure 2.4 Healthcare Expenditure Numerical Ratio Matric(Rq)
Future 3.1 Problems, Solution and Effects in the Healthcare Market
Figure 4.1. Price Changes for Medical Services 1956~1980
Figure 4.2 Difference Ratio in the Medicine Circulation (Real Term Price)
Figure 4.3 Categorized Income of China’s Insurance Industry
Figure 4.4 Combination of the two Social Insurances and Commercial Insurances, “Zhanjiang(湛江) Model” and “Taicang (太仓)Model”
Figure 4.5 Concentration of Anti-Cancer Medicines and Antibacterials for Systemic Use
Figure 4.6 Financial Subsidies and Education and Technology Funding for Hospitals of Different Grades(2015)
Figure 4.7 Reimbursement Policy for Urban Residents and Workers in Beijing
Figure 4.8 Beijing New Rural Cooperation Policy(Miyun District)
Figure 4.9 Reimbursement Ratio for In-Patient Treatment for Some Urban Workers
Figure 4.10 Reimbursement Ratio for In-Patient Treatment for Some Urban Residents
Future 4.11 Reimbursement Ration for Out-Patient Treatment for Different Groups in Beijing
Figure 4.12 Reimbursement Ratio for In-Patient Treatment for Different Groups in Beijing
Figure 4.13 Payment Ratio for Urban Workers by Social Healthcare Fund
Figure 4.14 Payment Ratio for Urban Residents by Social Healthcare Fund
Figure 4.15 Payment Ratio for New Rural Cooperation Healthcare Fund
Figure 5.1 Comparison of Bidding Price and Market Price for Some Medicine in Shanghai
Figure 5.2 Bidding Fee Standard for Medicine
Figure 5.3 Medicine Circulation Value Chain
Figure 5.4 Yearly Healthcare Expenditure per Person(2005~2014)）
Figure 5.5 Ratio of Surveyed Residents Taking Medical Treatment in Two Weeks in 2008(0/00)
Figure 5.6 Supplementary Medicines Type and Quantity for Some Provinces
Figure 5.7 Doctors’ Annual Income, GDP Per Capita, and Ratio in Europe and US
Figure 5.8 Coverage of Different Healthcare Insurances(2014)
Figure 5.9 Main Cooperative Insurance Platforms in China
Figure 5.10 Actual Self-Payment Ratio Among Different Groups(2013)
Figure 5.11 Healthcare Insurance for Civil Servants(2007~2014)
Figure 5.12 Administrative Cost for Commercial Insurance Agencies Managing New Rural Healthcare Insurances(2010)
Figure 5.13 Healthcare Resources in Difference Cities and Provinces(2014)
Figure 5.14 Gini Coefficient for Healthcare Resources Allocation Across Provinces
Figure 5.15 Relative Strength Index of Financial Subsidies Per Person in Healthcare Across Provinces
Figure 5.16 Comparison of Healthcare Expenditure Among Different Groups
Figure 5.17 Financial Healthcare Insurance Fund Per Person for Different Healthcare Insurance Forms(2014)
Figure 6.1 Healthcare Expenditure and Percentage of GDP before and after the Reform(%)
List of Tables
Table 1.1 Standard Market with Demand That Lacks Elasticity
Table 1.2 Location Competition between Healthcare Providers
Table 1.3 Doctors Sending Signals and the Separating Equilibrium of the Market
Table 2.1 Mean Value and Standard Deviation Indifference curve
Table 2.2 The Random Number of Logarithmic Normal Distribution of Healthcare Expenditure and the Utility Indifference Curve
Table 2.3 Difference in Consumption Due to Fixed Cost and Variable Cost
Table 2.4 Inefficiency of Resource Allocation on the Supply Side Brought by Insurances
Table 2.5 Inefficiency of Resource Allocation on the Consumption Side Brought by Insurances
Table 2.6 Efficiency Loss Due to Price Distortion
Table 2.7 Tilted Demand Curve
Table 2.8 Influence of Change of Self-Pay Ratio on the Utility Curve(I)
Table 2.9 Influence of Change of Self-Pay Ratio on the Utility Curve(II)
Table 2.10 Utility of Insurance and Its Illustration
Table 2.11 Influence of Self-Pay Ratio(%) on Prices and Its Derivative
Table 2.12 Influence of Self-Pay Ratio and the Price (e=0.5)
Table 2.13 Influence of Self-Pay Ratio and the Price (e=2)
Table 2.14 The Relation between Self-Pay Ratio and Prices with Different Degree of Monopoly(e)
Table 2.15 The Influence of Self-Pay Ration on Quantity and the Quantity
Table 2.16 The Influence of Self-Pay Ration on Healthcare Expenditure and the Expenditure
Table 2.17 The Quantity of Demand(α=0.5) with Different Degree of Monopoly(e)
Table 2.18 Influence of the Degree of Monopoly on Healthcare Expenditure and the Expenditure
Table 2.19 Healthcare Demand Curve with and without Insurances
Table 2.20 Canceling the Threshold for Reimbursement and High Self-Pay for Insurance
Table 2.21 Consumers Tend to “Buy More” and “Buy More Expensive”
Table 2.22 Insurance Companies Constrain “Buy More” and “Buy More Expensive”
Table 2.23 Aggregate Pre-Pay Institution
Table 2.24 Insurance Companies Constrain “Buy More” and “Buy More Expensive”
Table 2.25 Comparison of Price Ratio Matrix Spatial View with and without Insurances
Table 2.26 Price and Quantity Change due to the Change of Self-Pay Ratio with a Certain Supply Function
Table 2.27 Quantity Ratio Matrix Spatial View
Table 3.1 Government Constrains the Price and Quantity of Medicine
Table 3.2 Doctors’ Income Constrained by Regulators and the Public
Table 3.3 A Market without Insurances and Free Choice of Insurance
Table 3.4 World Healthcare Expenditure and Its Percentage of the GDP
Table 4.1 Pricing of China’s Medicines
Table 4.2 National General Public Budget Expenditure on Urban Residents and New Rural Cooperation Healthcare Funding(2010~2015)
Table 4.3 Healthcare Insurance Market Structure According to the Premium(2014)
Table 4.4 Amount of Patients in the Three Grades of Hospitals(2005～2015)
Table 4.5 End Medicine Market Structure(2015)
Table 4.6 Government Healthcare Expenditure（1999～2015）
Table 4.7 Amount of Patients in Public Hospitals and its Percentage to the Total Out-Patients (2005～2015)
Table 4.8 Development of Medicine Price Regulation
Table 4.9 Personal Obligations Standard for New Rural Healthcare Insurance and the Standard for Financial Subsidies
Table 4.10 Amount of Medical Assistance Funds by Ministry of Civil Affairs
Table 4.11 Healthcare Insurance Payment Procedures and Functions of Different Departments
Table 4.12 Healthcare Insurance Payment Process
Table 5.1 Change of Aggregate Supply and Demand in the Healthcare Market (1980~2014)
Table 5.2 Comparison between China and Other Countries In Terms of Healthcare Resources Owned by Every 10,000 People(2013)
Table 5.3 Ratio of Patients in Different Grades of Hospitals(2005~2015)
Table 5.4 Medicine Bidding Mechanism
Table 5.5 Utilisation Rate of Beds in Different Grades of Hospitals (2005～2015）
Table 5.6 Ratio between Healthcare Cost Per Person and GDP Per Capita
Table 5.7 The Constitution of the Income of Public Hospitals(2015）
Table 5.8 Changes in the Structure of Healthcare Expenditure Per Person in Comprehensive Hospitals of Different Grades
Table 5.9 Ratio between Labour Cost and GDP Per Capita and Its Changes
Table 5.10 Ratio between Out-Patients Cost and In-Patients Cost in Public Hospitals(2015)
Table 5.12 Amount of Doctor-Patient Conflicts
Table 5.13 Increase of Out-Patients Cost(2000～2015)
Table 5.14 Increase of In-Patients Cost(2000～2015)
Table 5.15 Welfare Loss Caused by Regulations
Table 5.16 Change of the Aggregate Supply and Demand in the healthcare Market(1980~2014)
Table 5.17 Structure of Financial Subsidies
Table 5.18 Density of Medics Per Million People Across Provinces
Table 5.19 Administrative Expenditures in Healthcare Institutions
Table 5.20 Advantages and Disadvantages of Insurance
Table 5.21 Number of Medics Per Million People Across Provinces(2014)
Table 5.22 Number of Grade Three Hospitals Per Million People Across Provinces
Table 5.23 Financial Subsidies Per Person Across Provinces Modified by GDP Per Capita (2014)
Table 5.24 Relative Strength Index of Financial Subsidies Per Person in Healthcare Across Provinces
Table 5.25 Comparison of Healthcare Expenditure Among Different Groups in 2013
Table 5.26 Relative Strength Index of Financial Subsidies Per Person in Healthcare in Different Groups
Table 6.1 Relation between Healthcare Expenditure Ratio and Healthcare Profit
Table 6.2 Ranking of Some Countries’ Healthcare Efficiency
Table 6.3 Relation between the Payment Ratio of Cash for Healthcare and Efficiency
Table 6.4 Logarithmic Normal Distribution Based on the Data of CHARLS
Table 6.5 Random Number Distribution of In-Patient Cost Generated by the Logarithmic Mean Square Error Based on the Data of CHARLS
Table 6.6 Income Standard and Healthcare Cost Random Number
Table 6.7 Distribution of Out-Patient Healthcare Expenditure and In-Patient Healthcare Expenditure
Table 6.8 Canceling Out-Patient Insurance
Table 6.9 In-Patient Healthcare Insurance Cancelling Payment Threshold and Raise Self-Pay Ratio
Table 6.10 Percentage of Healthcare Expenditure before against after Reforms
Table 7.1 Illustration of Healthcare Reform Process
As a Hill the brush holder is high, As a sea the paper is wide; There is no one word on the sea, Nothing spoken by the God.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 题笔架山。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
August 25, 2020
Simple estimation on decoupling (simulated based on SIEM)
(1) Static loss caused by chip decoupling
(2) China’s electromechanical products suffering from static loss in the world market caused by chip decoupling
(3) The influences of US’s increasing tariff on Chinese products
For the United States, to maintain its good relationship with China is to strike a balance between national security and economic development.
The United States assumes that China is a potential enemy for the United States, so it will restrict the allocation of strategic resources to the Mainland China as it does to the enemy countries.
One of important military technologies is to ensure the accuracy of weapons. It is computer technology and information technology that determine the accuracy of missiles or UAVs, including obtaining information, information network, information processing, and taking actions according to information orders. Therefore, computer technology and information technology should be regarded as strategic ones.
The United States maintains a certain amount of large trade deficit, so that it can export dollars, obtain seigniorage, and make up for defense spending. If the deficit is greatly reduced, the seigniorage revenue will be only reduced, not to mention the benefit of the United States. However, Trump administration attempts to correct what they think is unfair by raising tariffs on Chinese products, which is aimless.
In general, raising tariffs on Chinese products does not punish those enterprises or enterprise groups that engage in unfair trade. 93% of China’s exports to the United States are provided by private enterprises and foreign-funded enterprises, but the means of unfair competition are mainly adopted by state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Figure 1 share of China’s SOEs and non SOEs’ exports to the United States (as of October 2020)
In terms of intellectual property rights, monopoly market is not open and government subsidies and Internet have not provided access to the public, so enterprises can be dealt with as a unit. This is because those who violate the rules of fair competition in the market do not take the state as a unit, or the industry as a unit, but at most take the enterprise group as the unit.
With the modern computer technology and information technology, it is relatively affordable and easy to collect and process the information of specific enterprises and impose legal sanctions on illegal enterprises.
The reciprocity is the structural treatment of individual cases. The principle of reciprocity is to treat the other party in the same way as the other party treats itself, that is, “don’t do to others what you don’t want to do to yourself”, and it is also “if the other party is not treated equally, make it equivalent.”
For China, the best choice is to keep all the economic relations with the United States, including the purchase of high-tech products and technologies, the open access to financial markets, trade relations, and cooperation in education and scientific research.
If China and the United States are decoupled from each other, such as trade decoupling, the Mainland China will lose the US market and the huge international market of its allies immediately. Financial decoupling will cause great losses of resources and reduce the real valuation of the enterprises. If decoupling of high-tech products will cause many enterprises in Mainland China to stop production immediately, the decoupling of high technology education or technology cooperation will also cause the Mainland China high-tech enterprises to lose American resources.
The only thing that needs to be improved in the past trade relations between China and the United States is to adjust the asymmetric tariff to the symmetric tariff, that is, to reduce China’s tariff level on US imports (weighted average 6.3%) to the US tariff level on China (2.9%).
Figure 2 Weighted average tariff rates of China to the US and the US to China
The most important way for Mainland China to achieve the goal of anti-decoupling is to resume the path of marketization and rule of law, and follow the market rules, rule of law, and freedom of expression..
If it follows the market rule, rule of law and freedom of expression, Mainland China is sending the strongest “non hostile” signal to the world. Because these rules and principles are made for the fair settlement of disputes in peaceful means, they are non-violent and pose no threat to other countries. These signals will also affect US’s judgement on Mainland China and makes US view China as a rival rather than an enemy.
The development of strategic high technology depends on a set of institutional environments, namely, market system, rule of law and freedom of speech. One of the most important links is the mechanism for continuously generating innovative ideas, and the environment for innovative technology elites and entrepreneurs to stand out.
Take the US chip decoupling as an example. China will not be able to make up for this shortcoming at least in the medium term, that is, 5 to 10 years, or even in the long term, 20 to 30 years. This is because the production of chips requires an all-round institutional environment. First of all, it needs world-class universities and research institutions. The first principle is free expression, which takes a long time.
Chinese universities and scientific research institutions still pay attention to administrative departments. They have only carried out a certain amount of academic research, and the research topics are only limited. Due to the strict examination and approval system of private foundations, 90% of government research funds are used for applied research, and the application evaluation mechanism is unfair and opaque, so there is little innovation in the basic theory.
Threatened by the US restrictions on chip supply, the Chinese government issued a military order against the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the “national system” to overcome problems such as chip lithography. However, this government-led research and development method itself has many drawbacks. In the case of political ambiguity, the government’s allocation of scientific research funds depends more on power and relationship. Government funds will not be effectively allocated to people with the ability to innovate.
If China wants to establish a complete chip industry system, it is impossible to rely solely on huge investment in the medium term.
Like the United States, the principle of reciprocity is also the best principle for China to follow. It should be emphasized that the Chinese government should attach importance to the positive principle of reciprocity. The positive principle of reciprocity not only refers to the equal punishment of the other party’s unfair behavior, and its purpose is to force the other party to return to the rules of fairness; but also refers to the fact that one party should reflect on whether the other party’s action is reasonable and whether it conforms to the constitution. If so, it should not take revenge, but should adjust its own behavior.
The constitutional system of the United States not only stipulates the constitutional rights of citizens in the constitution, but also effectively protects the constitutional rights of citizens through the judicial system.
This means that if foreign governments or enterprises violate the constitutional rights of American citizens in the United States, they will be stopped and punished; if the United States government wants to punish foreign governments or enterprises that infringe on the constitutional rights of American citizens, they will also be stopped or suspended.The Americans, including the American media in the United States, will denounce things that Americans think violate the values of the constitution of the United States. This kind of condemnation will affect public opinion and the legislature of the United States. For example, the bills passed by Congress to punish those who violate human rights and the rule of law are not bills directly related to American citizens or the country. It was almost unanimously approved, which shows that the two parties in the United States are more consistent at this time, and there are fewer interest groups hindering them.
If the decoupling actions taken by the US government violates the constitutional rights of US citizens, citizens will also go to court.
There is a tradition of lobbying in the United States. If the US government’s Sino-US economic policies harm the interests of interest groups, the interest groups can prevent or restrict these policies through lobbying.
If the US government takes a large-scale decoupling action, it will have a more significant impact, and the damaged interest groups will also respond more fiercely. The lobbying activities of industrial interest groups are key to limiting the decoupling of the executive order of the US President.
As long as there is suspicion of violating US laws, US companies will not hesitate to take legal measures against competitors, especially those from overseas. Of course, their lawsuits may not be tenable, but this may be a means of competition. Especially in the United States, local American companies have a “geographic advantage”.
When foreign companies generally violate U.S. laws and regulations, the US Congress will also strictly require or impose sanctions on foreign companies.
The provisions of the Chinese Constitution on civil rights are similar to those of the US Constitution. However, the difference from the United States is that China’s Constitution cannot be directly cited in court trials, that is, constitutional rights cannot be effectively implemented.
However, a series of administrative laws in China, such as “Administrative Punishment Law”, “Administrative Reconsideration Law”, “Administrative Procedure Law”, and “Administrative Enforcement Law”, restrict the power of the administrative department and can be used in judicial process. The process may play a role in defending the Constitution and effectively restricting the executive organs.
China’s courts cannot be “free from administrative interference” as stipulated in the Constitution. One of the most serious forms of interference is to force the court to “not accept” administrative litigation filed by citizens. Therefore, the various “Administrative Laws” cannot actually be used in the judicial process. The rights of citizens stipulated in the Chinese Constitution are often not effectively protected.
The reform and opening up started in 1978 After more than 40 years of development, the Communist Party of Chinese (CPC) has formed a tradition different from that of Mao era. This can be called the “Deng Tradition”, that is, the reform and opening up. This tradition advocates marketization and rule of law, tends to the principle of freedom of speech, and hopes to gradually reform the political system.
This tradition has dominated China’s system reforms and policy formulations during the 30-odd years of reform and opening up, lifted restrictions on people’s economic freedom, motivated entrepreneurship and market vitality, and brought China’s miracle. The foundation of Deng’s tradition in the CPC has been deepened.
Reform and opening up is not only a concept, but also an expedient measure to improve the situation of the CPC. The impetus released from the transition from planned economy to the market economy and the improved resource allocation will continuously generate the wealth, which will also bring benefits to CPC officials. On the other hand, although they know the importance of the market, they tend to gain a larger share of the market, and thus have an anti-market tendency.
When it comes to the relationship with the United States, Deng Tradition is more inclined to understand the reasonable requirements of the United States, and changes the pressure from the United States into a driving force for domestic reforms.
However, SOEs are a very powerful interest group. They instinctively oppose the abolition of the privileges and monopolies of themselves. Because they and administrative officials belong to the same interest group that can exchange identities, they have very powerful political resources that will affect government policies and even international relations.
The Deng’s tradition and the power of special interest groups are integrated. On the one hand, Deng’s tradition and the discourse of reform and opening up still have a certain or even dominant position in the CPC, because this may be used to maintain the CPC’s image of continuing reform and opening up, and help ease the ideological tension with the United States and the Western world; on the other hand, monopoly group of SOEs and administrative abusive groups hold actual political power and conduct counter-reform and opening operations under the rhetoric of reform and opening up.
After the reform and opening up, private enterprises have made considerable progress. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, by 2019, non-state-owned enterprises accounted for about 73% of the industrial added value; non-state-owned enterprises accounted for 87% of urban employment, and provided more than 100% of new job opportunities. If we simply associate the proportion of employment with the proportion of GDP, knowing that the proportion of employment in the state-owned sector in rural areas will be lower, we can infer that the proportion of GDP created by the non-state sector is more than 87%.
Figure 3 proportion of SOEs and non SOEs in industrial added value
Figure 4 employment increment of SOEs and non SOEs in each year
The rapid development of non-state-owned enterprises since the reform and opening up is propelled by the market rules and the rule of law, as well as the property rights system. However, they often suffer from the exploitation of state-owned enterprise monopoly, the increase of tax rate, and the threat to their security and property rights by the administrative department and its officials. Therefore, they have the orientation to support marketization and rule of law, and oppose administrative abuse and state-owned enterprise monopoly.
Non-state-owned enterprises have always been relying on their own innovation and efforts to gain access to the US market. As mentioned previously, non-state-owned enterprises in Mainland China account for 92% of exports to the US; they also attach great importance to the patent system so as to develop their own technology and products. In 2016, the effective patents obtained by non-state-owned enterprises accounted for 97% of all patents.
SOEs have unfairly obtained various preferential treatments, subsidies and monopolies. They are unfair competitors in the Mainland China’s market, and of course they are also unfair competitors in the international market.
SOEs lack a mechanism to encourage innovation. They rely more on their monopoly on the domestic market and manage to grab the intellectual property rights of enterprises in other countries. Such monopolies do not want to see the IP system be further strengthened.
The so-called “administrative abuse group” refers to administrative departments that do not abide by the constitution and laws. They often violate the rights of citizens and enterprises under the banner of the government, manipulate the judicial department, and deprive citizens and enterprises of the right to justice. The abuse of police force suppresses the complaints of citizens or enterprises, and further violates the rights of citizens and enterprises, and seeks their own interests.
This administrative abusive group even created its own standards that are different from the Constitution and the law. For instance, they illegally determine a large number of residential houses that have been inhabited for 10-20 years as “illegal buildings” and proceeding in a brutal demolitions.
Since this interest group often violates the Constitution and laws, it does not want their unconstitutional and illegal activities to be exposed by the media and condemned by the public. Therefore, they support the suppression and monitoring of Internet public opinion, and oppose the freedom of speech.
Corporate executives, white-collar workers, small and medium-sized enterprises’(SME) owners, professionals and freelancers are the strong players in market competition. They benefit more from the market system, gaining higher income and accumulating a certain amount of wealth. They adapt to market rules and hope that property rights will be protected, so they tend to restrict the administration by the rule of law, and rely more on freedom of speech.
The Chinese government opposes decoupling measures, especially, to giving the access to foreign companies and individuals with more Chinese market demand. This includes lowering tariff rates, lowering restrictions on foreign investment, and opening up more Chinese domestic markets. Its purpose is to provide benefits to countries other than the United States in order to contain the United States.
An important achievement is that China signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement on November 15, 2020. Another important achievement is the Sino-EU Investment Agreement signed with the European Union on December 30, 2020. The agreement includes the protection of investment, respect for intellectual property rights, transparency of subsidies and improved market access conditions.
The US’s requirement to enter the Chinese monopoly market, cancel government subsidies and protect intellectual property rights will be opposed by state-owned enterprise monopoly groups and administrative abusive groups. However, as the Chinese Communist Party’s senior officials have declared that they will carry out these reforms, they may become one of the driving forces for reform in this field in China.
On the one hand, the CPC’s senior leaders not only sincerely follow Deng’s traditional ideology and use reform and opening up discourse, but also realize that marketization and rule of law can bring them benefits as a whole; on the other hand, they want to gain a larger share of incoming wealth.
The best choices that meet the interest of both China and the United States are shown as follows:
(1) The United States: Restrict strategic high-tech, and let others go; however, individual or structural sanctions should be imposed on companies that violate fair trade rules;
(2) China: Maintain all the original economic relations with the United States; the condition is to improve the intellectual property system, break monopolies, remove government subsidies from SOEs, and provide open access to (at least part of) the Internet. Furthermore, it is necessary to reduce the level of tariffs on American products based on that of the United States on Chinese products.
(3) Common points: Except for strategic high-tech, the rest should not be decoupled; Sino-US tariffs should be equal.
The global loss due to the decoupling of US-China chips ranges from US$393billion to US$1179 billion. Assuming an even distribution of production and consumption, calculated at 18% of the world’s GDP, the EU’s revenue will decrease by US$70.8 billion to US$212.3 billion, 18% of world’s GDP.
Figure 5 Trade of high tech products between the US ,China and the EU in 2018
unit: million US dollars
China is the EU’s third largest importer and the largest exporter. It is the second largest trading partner in general, and it has approached the scale of trade between Europe and the United States.
The EU and China have similar trade structures. As a unified trade and tariff unit, the EU is China’s largest overseas market for intermediate products, accounting for 16.48%; its intermediate products are also China’s largest overseas supplier, occupying 12.43%; significantly higher than the 7.38% and 11.7% of the United States. Therefore, seen from the data reflected in trade, China and the EU have a deeper international division of labor.
Figure 6 Distribution of China’s intermediate products market and supply place in 2017 Unit:%
Since the European Union does not have the same large-scale leading chip manufacturer as the United States or East Asia, the largest chip manufacturer in Europe, STMicroelectronics’ sales in 2019 is only about 9 billion US dollars. Regardless of the quality and quantity of chips, it cannot replace the United States or East Asia. Generally speaking, there are very few EU countries that can replace the United States in chip supply. Therefore, the decoupling of strategic high-tech between China and the United States will not directly bring much market to EU companies.
The average price of EU products is also 13.5% higher than that of China, and there is competition from East Asia, the United States, ASEAN, and emerging economies. The EU will not substitute much for the production of electromechanical products.
Since the EU is still a consortium of sovereign states, its legislation and decision-making procedures are complicated, and the unanimous consent rules or double-specific majority rules require high cost and time-consuming legislation and policy formulation. However, once a law or policy is formulated, it will be more effective and authoritative, and will have more bargaining power in negotiations with other countries.
The cultural traditions and institutional structures of EU countries are closer to the United States between China and the United States. Its values are in favor of market rules, the rule of law and the freedom of speech. As the Chinese government has done something that violates market rules, the rule of law, and the principles of freedom of expression, the EU’s overall judgment on China has changed, and it has gradually regarded China as hostile.
When the EU once again regards China as a potential hostile country, it will move closer to the United States in terms of strategic high-tech products, and will not export high-tech products that the United States prohibits from selling to China.
In order to achieve effective decoupling of China’s strategic high-tech technology, the United States will inevitably put pressure on the European Union. It will not allow EU countries to steal the market left by the US’s decoupling or allow China’s 5G equipment to enter the EU market. If the United States wants to have an effect on the strategic high-tech decoupling, it cannot allow EU countries to give access to China in the high-tech field. This includes not only high-tech products such as chips, lithography machines, AI, robots and precision machinery, but also it requires the EU to decouple from China in the fields of high-tech scientific research and education.
The decoupling of the United States from China should be limited to the decoupling of strategic high-tech fields. When the United States goes further, it will be concerned about the substitution of the European Union, thus restricting the decoupling to strategic high-tech areas that must be decoupled.
General conclusions about the degree of decoupling
(1) The common best choice of China and the United States: decoupling in strategic high-tech fields;
(2) Consider the status quo of the US system structure: the trade war may be suspended, sanctions on Chinese state-owned monopolies and sanctions on Chinese Internet companies that affect American public opinion, and sanctions on Chinese companies with intellectual property rights violations may be increased;
(3) Consider the status quo of China’s institutional structure: the market is less likely to recover, the rule of law and the freedom of speech in the short term, and the decoupling of strategic high-tech fields is inevitable;
(4) The United States adopts structural or case-by-case handling of China’s problems in market entry, intellectual property rights, Internet access, and government subsidies.
(5) The two sides can reach an agreement on tariff equality, that is, China will reduce the tariff on the United States based on the tariffs imposed by United States, and the two sides can further reduce the tariff to zero.
Full text in Chinese : http://sheng54.net/2021/02/26/%e4%b8%ad%e7%be%8e%e8%84%b1%e9%92%a9%e7%a8%8b%e5%ba%a6%e5%8f%8a%e5%85%b6%e5%bd%b1%e5%93%8d%ef%bd%9c%e5%8d%81%e7%bb%b4%e8%bf%9c%e6%99%af%e5%85%ac%e5%8f%b8%ef%bc%88temvon%ef%bc%89/
The ancient town is circled by white water,
In the town there is a high building established;
For it is majestic the suburbs look lower,
We need not say sorrow when up the building stepped.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 登光岳楼。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
December 2, 2020
Ten thousands buddhas resident in ancient tower, No better than live in my mind; The sixth ancestor saw no bodhi, Ordinary people worship golden sculpture.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 访蒙城万佛塔有感。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
December 4, 2020
Zhou and butterfly share one mind, Zhuang and fish feel pleasure with each other; Nature and Human originally are one, Life and death follow the God's order.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 游庄子祠。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
December 4, 2020
Along Great Wall there were many strong castles, For thousand years there were much less battles; Trades were made in the reception and tribution building, Out of the wall land was ploughed for farming.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 访镇北台。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
As the pride of Heaven, human beings
Know how high the Heaven only if worshiping god;
To the ancient god sacrifices have been continuing on for thousand years,
On mural painted by Wu strips are floating with wind.
Note: English is not my mother language. As a practice, this poem is translated from my poem in Chinese: 拜东岳庙。 I hope the experts who master both English and Chinese to offer me some suggestions.
Note: From the end of 2018 to the present, we have been listening to the declaration of “protecting private entrepreneurs”, but the incidents of private entrepreneurs being infringed repeatedly, until the Dawu incident finally reached a peak. If a government claims to protect people’s security and property rights without catching robbers, “protection” is an empty talk. If we do not take strong measures against the local administrative agencies that violate the Constitution and violate laws, the document of “protecting private entrepreneurs” will be a blank paper. Reissue the article written in 2018.
The developments between the publication of an essay about “private enterprises leaving the party” by a Mr. Wu Xiaoping on September 12th and the address made by Mr. Xi Jinping emphasizing the importance of private enterprises are dubbed by some people as “exhilarating 50 days for the private sector.” To be fair, this is no exaggerating, nor is it normal. How come a common commentator, Mr. Wu Xiaoping, with no official background, could start such a fuss that only the General Secretary of CCP could later pacify? Right after Mr. Xi’s address, the People’s Daily published an article, claiming that the address “gave private entrepreneurs an assurance”, which was heavily ridiculed online. Some say the assurance did not seem to last long, some say it bordered with “I have a bridge to sell you,” some even dug up decades of People’s Daily propaganda and showed that similar assurances had been given out to people for so long. There are some scholars who commented that the expression of “one of our own”, referring to the intimate relationship between the government and the private entrepreneurs, sent a startling signal to cause private entrepreneurs uneasy, because an equal contractual relationship can only be created between those who are “our very own,” and those who are not. Comments like this ensued. Why the fuss?
Confucius said, “At first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I have learned to make this change.” This might just be the real mentality development of private entrepreneurs’ dealing with government policies. In fact, it is written in the Chinese Constitution that “private property is protected”, and “non-state economy is protected”. Party congresses in recent years also wrote in their rout esolutions to “encourage, support, and guide non-state economy in its development with unremitting efforts.” Judging from the last few decades, we have gotten accustomed to various policies, documents, and minutes of addresses from the government to pacify and support private enterprises. Such instances include the old and new editions of the policy documents entitled “36 Suggestions Regarding Non-State Economy” in the times of former President Hu Jintao and former Premier Wen Jiabao, that is the “Some Suggestions on Encouraging and Supporting Non-State Economy by the State Council”. This policy was issued in 2005, and it included several articles on “improve private property protection institution”, “solidify the principle of equal entry and fair treatment”, and “enhancing fiscal and credit and loans to support non-state economy”, etc.. In principle, they were in line with President Xi’s address.
However, before this policy, there were two well-known cases in 2004 where private enterprises’ property rights were violated and suppressed. One was the case of Tieben Company. In this case, the company was sued for investing in and acquiring land in an unlawful way, and its president Dai Guofang was taken into custory, later tried on criminal charges for “purchasing forged special invoices for value-added tax” and sentenced for 5 years. Inn fact, the investment of a private enterprise would be its own economic freedom that needs no one else to approve; besides, the acquired land was firstly approved by the local government, and if there should be any fallout, it should be the government to take accountability. Another case is the oil field case in Northern Shaanxi. In 2003, some local government in this region abruptly nationalized hundreds of oil wells that were formerly operated by private entities, and compensated them by 20% of their investment value. Faced by the mass protests of the investors, the local government abused its public power and sued them on the charge of “crime of picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. After some investors were thrown behind bars, some of the lawyers on their behalf were also detained for “unlawfully disturbing social order” charges. This act by the local government was no different than that of marauders.
Both these cases were different violation of the private property rights of private enterprises, and they both took place around the time when the policy “36 Suggestions Regarding Non-State Economy” were issued. If the promise of “improving private property rights protection” was kept, even if such cases took place, mistakes would have been corrected. The public litigation against Dai Guofang, though not directly related to the project, caused the project to be canceled. The company lost a fortune on the equipment purchased for this project, and the private property rights were harmed instead of protected by the government. Investors in Northern Shaanxi also found them losing big fortune at last. Similarly, their loss was not only due to the inactiveness of the government to protect their property rights, but also due to the violation of property rights by the government. Forget about “enhancing equal entry and fair treatment”, these two cases were straightforward institutional ownership discrimination. By the time the Tieben Company canceled the project, their state owned competitors, such as Baoji Steel and Wuhan Steel, declared their new big scale investment. And the cause for the oil well disruption was easy, the local government wanted to nationalize local energy business. In hindsight, it was not from the policy document but from these two very peculiar cases that private entrepreneurs learned their lessons in the most realistic and terrifying way.
Years later, in 2010, the State Council came up with the new edition of this policy, the key change was the specification in market entry, such as encouraging private enterprises to enter basic infrastructure industries including telecommunication services, power generation, gas, and transportation; public utility including water supply, gas supply, heating supply and waste management; and social enterprises such as healthcare and education. However, in the same time, another case involving Kechiley Investment, an energy investment firm, in Shaanxi Province. This was exactly the area where the State Council meant to encourage private enterprises to enter with the new policy. The case started when the state-owned enterprises tore the contract with Kechiley on the ground that the “the contract was not in line with the relevant policy in the minute of the Shaanxi Provincial Government meetings.” However, the real reason was that the state-owned enterprise found a millions worth volume coal mine reserve in the exploration period and wanted to pocket the profit alone. In 2011, when the Higher People’s Court of the province reopened the case and nullified the contract, Kechiley’s registration license was revoked by the administrative authorities and its legal representative Mr. Zhao Faqi was arrested.
Another major legal case was the case of Zeng Chengjie. Zeng Chengjie along with a real estate developer in Hunan signed a contract with a local government to invest and construct three public stadium and buildings. They also raised public funds when encouraged by the local government. However, when financial policy changed and financial crisis hit, the local government and its officials were the first to leave the party, leaving the private entrepreneur to take the blame. Zeng Chengjie was sentenced to death and his company was sold at a low price to a state-owned enterprise when Zeng’s company was able to pay off the debt and had the will to do so. In this case, Zeng Chengjie lost not only his property rights, but also his life, needless to say there’s anything to do with market entry. Which sent a clearer signal, then, the new policy or Zeng Chengjie’s death sentence? Actually, around 2010, there is another much bigger and more influential event, that was the “Chongqing Crashing Crashing Black Crime”. The black crimes mainly were related to private enterprises, and 13 people were sentenced to death and executed eventually. After Bo Xilai, then Chongqing governor, was taken down on multiple charges, no review or distinction were made on these cases. Li Zhuang, famous lawyer, pointed out that about RMB 100 billion worth of assets was confiscated by the Chongqing Police, yet only around RMB930 million were turned over to the state coffer.
In 2016, the Party Central Committee and the State Council issued yet another policy, Suggestions on Improving the Protection of Private Property Rights Institution and Protecting Private Property by Law, to give another boost when it comes to protecting property, and proposed five principles such as “equal protection”, “comprehensive protection”, “protection by law”, and “mutual participation”. The intention was good, and the words were convincing. A section of this policy entitled “improving the government accountability promise mechanism” emphasized that “for situations where the contract was broken by the government and enterprises’ and citizens’ property rights were violated, compensation, complaint and relief mechanism should be improved, and complaint and relief channels should be established.” However, after this policy was issued, incidents involving violating the property rights of private enterprises went pandemic. For example, party chapters were required to be set up in private enterprises. By the end of 2016, over 68% non-state enterprises set up party chapters. This did not only increase of cost for the enterprises, but also allowed political organizational principles to interfere with the corporate governance structure, which would cause insecurity for private enterprises. By the end of 2017, the act of evicting migrant workers and non-permanent residents and removing rooftop billboards by the Beijing municipal government without noticing people beforehand have caused great damage to private property rights. The victims of these acts were not compensated. And they could not even find the so-called “relief channels”, rendering the policy from the Party Central Committee of piece of scrap.
When Mr. Xi sat down with some private entrepreneurs, he promised to “protect the security of their persons and properties”, and “create an equal competition environment that facilitates the development of private enterprises with enough market room in the areas of market approval and entry, licensing, operations, bidding, and military-civil conversion of industries”, while giving his word to “further cut taxes”. However, almost at the same time, what we saw were another two cases: one concerned the confiscation of eight residential buildings built by Dawu Group, a well-known local conglomerate in Hebei Province, by Xushui District Land and Resources Bureau on the ground of not having the permit before construction; and the other concerned the revocation of the registration license of Beijing Unirule Consulting Co., Ltd, a company of Unirule Institute of Economics, by Beijing Haidian Administration Bureau for Industry and Commerce on the ground of organizing educational training without permit. The first case was a direct violation of the property rights of private enterprises, and the second case was a straightforward refusal to President Xi’s promise in terms of market entry and approval.
It seems that the policy documents and addresses by the decision makers are in contradiction with what we saw in real life. Are these decision makers not sincere or genuine? I don’t think so. In fact, the decision makers know very well that the private enterprises are an indispensable pillar of the Chinese economy and a key source or wealth. As President Xi emphasized, the non-state economy “contributed over 50% of tax revenue, over 60% of GDP, over 70% of technological innovation achievements, over 80% of jobs in urban and rural areas, and over 90% of enterprise entities.” In addition, from the incremental perspective, private enterprises contributed over 90% of the GDP increased margin, and over 100% of new jobs(why over 100%? Because the private enterprises also supplement the jobs lost by state-owned enterprises when they lay workers off.) The decision makers are also aware that the efficiency and innovation capacity of private enterprises are way higher than their state-owned counterparts, and most of state-owned enterprises rely on the development of private enterprises. That is because most of the state-owned enterprises are concentrated in upstream basic industries, such as finance, telecommunication, power, railway, and oil, and only when the downstream industries develop well, will they be able to cut their share of the profit, and they have the monopoly to do so.
However, on the other hand, the decision makers are the direct beneficiary of the tax revenue increases, and the high level executives and administrative officials are, in essence, the same group of people who could trade their positions in times of need. Therefore, the government officials don’t find it reasonable to either constrain the fiscal expenses, or break the monopoly of state-owned enterprises. They would not constrain the abuse of public power, either. In a fairly long period of time, doing so has not produced any telling negative results. The reason lies in the comparison before and after the reform and opening-up. The government took it as a baseline that in the planned economy period, Chinese people were poor, and so was the government, and the tax rate was, therefore, lower. However, with the market economy flourishing and wealth pouring in, and without proper limit of the government power, macro tax rate was raised constantly and administrative monopolies were set up along the way. Those who violate the property rights of private enterprises were also allowed to get away with it. That is why the decision makers know the importance of private enterprise and can not resist the temptation to exploit them anyway.
In a rather long time, protection of property rights does not go against limiting the public power. That is because, the tax rate is raised gradually, and from a very low leve. In the process, private enterprises felt it was still bearable, though their profit margin was dwindling. It was not a serious problem. At first, the violations of private property rights were not so concentrated. People were mistaken to think that they were just separate peculiar cases. However, when the tax rate rose to a certain level, those private enterprises that are not doing so well would feel the pressure first and complain about the tax burden. And abusing the unlimited public power to exploit private business and take their private property goes pandemic and in larger volumes. This explains why private entrepreneurs feel that the tax burden is too heavy and their private property rights are not protected properly. For decision makers, there is the conflict between protecting property rights and letting loose public powers.
As a result, when entrepreneurs begin to worry about their property rights, they don’t invest anymore. Some of them even begin moving overseas for their own good. The accumulated result would, then, influence the macro economic state. As for the first half of 2016, growth of private capital investment witnessed a consecutive decrease to 2.1% in July, 2016, which sent very serious signal to the decision makers. It is fair to say that the Suggestions on Improving the Protection of Private Property Rights Institution and Protecting Private Property by Law was issued, to some extent, to address this issue. The address by President Xi this time also has a lot to do with the current bleak economic situation. What we see is that mastic financial losses are witnessed by private enterprises, and most of their net asset return rate is lower than the sum of risk-free interest rate and reasonable risk profit margin rate. The Chinese economy is apparently taking a downturn, and there is the external pressure from the ongoing trade war with the US. Therefore, what we can see is the utilitarian purpose of the central government in issuing policies that seemed to have the best interest of the private enterprises, while what they really care about is the short term effect, instead of sticking to the principles they set out in those policies. As a response, private entrepreneurs could only go so far and think that these Suggestions were just for the short term relief for the government, instead of for their interest.
At an expert meeting with the National Development and Reform Committee in 2016 on Suggestions on Improving the Protection of Private Property Rights Institution and Protecting Private Property by Law, I emphasized along with some other experts that policy documents would have far less impact than cases. Ever since then, the central government did try to review some cases. Some of the well known cases include the Kechiley case where the company won the lawsuit eventually; the Wu Ying case review resulted in reduction of the defendant’s sentence; the Zhao Shoushuai case review acquitted the defendant innocent; and it goes on and on with the Gu Chujun case and the Mu Qizhong case. Recently, Mr. Liu He, the Vice Premier, stressed that “one act is louder than a dozen programs.” On November 12th, the supreme court issued a Notice on Creating a Good Legal Environment for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Entrepreneurs(CourtNo.1), reemphasizing the execution of the spirit of the above mentioned policies in the judicial practices. This, apparently, is a major act that aims to make people hear and see, though it still has a utilitarian hue for the short term goal, it signified an institutional change. On the one hand, such an act reminds people of policy movement, or campaign, that does not last long or mean what it says; on the other hand, once demonstrated in the judicial system, cases would be amplified to showcase principles as examples, which could have seminal influences.
However, this is not enough to reassure private entrepreneurs. More importantly, reviewing and redressing some cases are not enough. There has to be institutional assurance that such cases would never occur again. The Notice issued by the supreme court sounds like it was targeting certain people, instead of applying to everyone in the form of written articles in the Constitution or laws. It is definitely not a normal institutional that is to be followed and practiced in due process by judicial bodies. And the phrase “redressing wrong cases” is innately contradictory. If it is known to be a wrong case where justice is not done, then it is a deliberate act to make it a wrong case by the court. From the statistical perspective, it is to admit that the current judicial system is problematic, and the problem lies in the failure to comply with the due process of law. “Redressing” is an administrative goal, and in the process, we can be sure that further ignorance of due process of law will be witnessed. And doing so might inflict new wrong cases. What’s really reassuring is stable expectation for the institution. When one believes that by following the Constitution and the law in due process of law while resisting the interference of administrative entities, still one could get a roughly expected result, then he can be assured.
Then, what is such an institution that matches the stable expectation of private entrepreneurs? Such an institution is one that could limit and counter balance the abuse of public power. “Protecting property rights” is not done when it is said, but is done when a series of institutional structures are set up and a series of operations are undertaken. These operations include complaint, warning, application, litigation, judgement, execution and constrain. In summary, 1) people have the right to complain and express their opinions, a right that is protected by Article 35 of the Constitution; 2) the government administrative entities are limited by the institution, that is when the government interferes improperly, such error can be corrected, and the personnel should be held accountable; and 3) an independent judicial system that is not interfered by the party or the government, and personnel of this system are expected to be committed to handling cases in a just manner.
Allow me to elaborate. Firstly, without the right to complain and express their opinions, people would not even know whether the rights of entrepreneurs are being violated. Therefore, this is the first and foremost right. In hindsight, the right to complain by entrepreneurs has been severely suppressed in recent years. Many cases where property, even life, was jeopardized did not get expressed and discussed publicly. For example, in the Zeng Chengjie case, he was sentenced to death in 2013 and executed in 2015. During this two-year period, no discussion was in the public discourse. According to the assistant of Mr. Zeng’s lawyer, she almost visited all the websites, newspapers, magazines and other public media Chanels in over a year only to be told that there was paramount pressure to cover negative stories or that the superiors would not allow the coverage of this case. In comparison, the Wu Ying case was taken to the media since the beginning. Unirule Institute of Economics also held seminars to discuss the case. And Wu Ying’s sentence was great reduced, from death to life imprisonment. After Zeng Chengjie was executed, Unirule also held meetings which were twice interrupted and changed the venue for that matter. Some experts were even coerced not to attend the meeting. Therefore, the first institutional signal would not be received by entrepreneurs if Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution is not fully implemented.
In addition to the meetings on the two cases, Unirule Institute of Economics also held other seminars on cases related to entrepreneurs, such as cases of Sun Dawu and Kechiley. It is fair to say that Unirule Institute of Economics is one of the few private organizations in China that spoke out for private enterprises. We have also set up a China Entrepreneur Research Centre that publishes Index of the Survival and Development Environment for Private Enterprises every year and organizes seminars on the same topic. In the end of 2016, Unirule Institute of Economics published a Report on the Tax Burden of Chinese Private Enterprises and the Tax Reform that undertook surveys and meetings with over 100 entrepreneurs and 113 valid questionnaires in 4 provinces and key cities. This report found that the tax burden for Chinese private enterprises was too heavy, nearing the “Death Tax Rate”. However, such a finding was immediately suppressed. What’s more serious, Beijing Unirule Consulting Co., Ltd., a company of Unirule Institute of Economics, was revoked of its registration license the same time when Mr. Xi made his address. The existence of this company sent a significant institutional signal. If this company cannot survive, what other reassurance for “one of our own” would ever work?
A second institutional signal is the effective constraint on government administrative departments. One simple and key constraint is that all of these departments should be abided by the Constitution and laws. Article 11 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates that “The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the non-public sectors of the economy, including individual and private sectors of the economy. ” All the administrative departments are but public organs established under the Constitution and should only have the mandate to serve the citizens’ constitutional rights(including non-state property rights). Therefore, one of the most important principles for them to follow is that property rights precedes administrative power. When I see that the Xushui District Land and Resources Bureau believed it had the power to confiscate the private property of a private enterprise, I know this bureau has no understanding of the Constitution and no respect for private property rights. This is not a peculiar case, it is pandemic in mainland China. Otherwise, there would not have been the mass eviction of the nonpermanent residents from Beijing, or the coercive removal or rooftop billboards. Up till today, we are still seeing many administrative departments violating property rights relentlessly without due respect for such rights. Even when such violations are called off, no one was held accountable. Therefore, there is a need for an example incident where the violation by administrative departments is punished.
A third institutional signal is judicial independence. That is the constitutional principle. Article 131 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates that “The people’s procuratorates exercise procuratorial power independently, in accordance with the provisions of law, and not subject to interference by any administrative organ, public organization or individual.” One key indicator is whether private enterprises (and of course all citizens) could get judicial services. Nowadays, one the most widely used tool to interfere judicial independence is to demand the court “not to hear” the litigation raised by private enterprises against the administrative departments. For example, when Dawu Group, a company in Hebei Province, tried to sue the local government administrative departments for removing its billboards, the local court “refused to hear the case”. Apparently, “protecting of property rights” is a widely needed public service which cannot be done by some promise of the political leaders but by the nationwide judicial system. If a court refuse to take a well-founded litigation, there is no measure of relief for the security of property rights of private enterprises. Under such a judicial system, “protecting of property rights” is no more than empty words. Besides, there is a question of whether there will be a just trial even if the court accepts the case. Is it possible to have a just trial with direct and powerful interference from the administration? Apparently not. The due process of law is the first to take the impact.
For instance, in Chongqing’s “Crashing Crashing Black Crime” there was even ridiculous scenes where the consignor report on their lawyers. In Li Zhuang’s trial, a famous lawyer, eight witnesses were prevented from attending the trial. In the second instance of the Wang Chengzhong case in Liaoyuan Intermediate People’s Court, the judge were colleagues of the defendants’ and yet still involved in the trial. In addition to being directly involved in the trial and pressuring the witnesses, what we also see that is commonly practiced is pressuring the non-governmental subjects, such as pressuring the lawyers hired by private enterprises. This indicates that the government departments consider the judicial system their own tool instead of a mechanism that generates justice. In general, Chinese judicial system cannot fully implement the judicial independence principle of the Constitution, and understandably is not trusted by people, especially private entrepreneurs. Hence, in order to change people’s perception of this system, a series of example events should be undertaken, such as 1) punishing the courts that refuse to take well-founded cases; 2) punishing the administrative personnel that pressure lawyers or witnesses; and 3) punishing courts that are not following the due process of law, etc.. It is not hard to find such cases. What’s needed is resolve.
As long as such institutional signals are sent and institutional reforms are undertaken full heartedly, with or without reassurance, people will find themselves reassured. Even though the conventional short term utilitarian goals are being met, the effect of reassurances decreases the more it is used, till such measures become invalid. therefore, even for the purpose of the present situation, the ruling authorities should adopt institutional changes that has a long term perspective. In the meantime, the authorities should also adopt a long term strategy, instead of being trapped with the short term tactics. A shift from focusing on the interest of the authorities’ own to a focus on the interest of everyone is needed. Even though it feels like a change under pressing situations, it is about time that a transcending mentality was adopted. What we see now, be it suppression of expression, indulgence of administrative departments, or distortion of the judicial system, are a mentality of games, that is dealing with problems from the win-or-lose point of view. However, in fact, those who win in this one game will eventually lose in repetitive games. To explain, one would make more misjudgment and mistakes if he suppresses others’ complaints and criticism; one would not gain assets but evidence of crimes when he abuses administrative power to take over other people’s property; the direct interference on judicial independence is likely to lead to injustice to himself in the end. Therefore, a fair institution is the best institution for the ruling authorities as well as for everyone else.
What we see in China today is a perfect demonstration of how the market(private property) is supplemented by rule of law(limit on public power) in principle and in practice. This relation was discovered by Mancur Olson. In an article “Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development”, he wrote “the conditions that are needed to have the individual rights needed for maximum economic development are exactly the same conditions that are needed to have a lasting democracy. Obviously, a democracy is not viable if individuals, including the leading rivals of the administration in power, lack the rights to free speech and to security for their property and contracts or if the rule of law is not followed even when it calls for the current administration to leave office. Thus the same court system, independent judiciary, and respect for law and individual rights that are needed for a lasting democracy are also required for security of property and contract rights.” That is to say the market economy implies the principle of rule of law that constrains the public power. Besides, there is no room for maneuver between protection of private property rights and not limiting public powers. To address the problems we are faced with today, we need a long term strategy.
Confucius once said “I would rather walk my life than talk my life.” Institutions are not abstract. Institutions emerge from the interaction among people. That explains why institutional changes would be accompanied by specific actions and the institutional signals that come with them. We also should believe that people are not significantly smarter than others. If we are to play another game of pacifying and pretending to be pacified, we are merely wasting precious time. In the various specific actions, judicial reform seems to be the most important. Because the judicial institution is one that showcases to the public the just rules of conduct by judicial cases, instead of one that supervises everyone and interferes with their affairs every minute. The latter cannot be implemented, because it cannot decide who is suppose to supervise whom. The just judgement of a case benefits the authorities more than a judgement that favors the authorities(such as local governments), because it wins the authorities credibility and integrity. In this light, in the dire situation where private enterprises are not doing well and Manny private entrepreneurs are losing confidence in the economy, it is only right to turn the table by implementing constitutional rights, judicial independence, and limiting administrative powers as a start for further reforms.
Translated by Mr. MA Junjie, This essay was first published by FT Chinese on December 5th, 2018: http://www.ftchinese.com/story/001080522?full=y
Chanyu dreamed unifying all of countries, Strong army shocked Han Dynasty; However the One who can unify doesn't love killing Lonely ruin left among desert is Tongwan City.