On June 15, the China Securities Regulatory Commission published a revision to the existing “Corporate Governance of Public Traded Companies” and solicited public opinion to be submitted for a period of one month. Described as “important content on the Corporate Governance for companies with Chinese Characteristics,” the revised governance required that publicly traded companies “strengthen the efforts to develop the party” and include the requirement that relevant party development work be included in the company’s articles of incorporation. According to a Financial Times report, over 30 State Owned Companies worth a total of US$1.15 trillion revised their corporate article last year to “place the Party at the central position of the company.” A Voice of America (VOA) article reported that, shortly after China’s accession to the WTO in 2001, the Communist Party’s control was formally introduced into the private sector. The official China Daily reported last year that nearly 70% of China’s approximately 1.86 million private companies have party organizations. In the past decade, party branches have been established in more and more foreign companies in China. The VOA article further quoted the comments from two Chinese scholars who stated that Chinese leaders don’t have a clear idea of where China’s economy is headed. On the one hand, Xi Jinping wants to promote the ideology from Mao’s era and let the party lead everything; on the other hand he wants to maintain China’s current economic status with the hope that state-owned enterprises will become bigger and stronger. The private sector, the most vigorous component of China’s economy, is gradually dying. Many private companies have been transferring their assets overseas but some of the top names like Wang Jianling, Guo Guangchang, Xiao Jianhua and Wang Xiaohui ended up being arrested and their money was confiscated. Therefore, according to one economist that the VOA quoted, “party development” work will not improve the financial challenges that SOEs face; nor will it become a “protection umbrella” for private business owners.
1. Voice of America, June 15, 2018
2. China Securities Regulatory Commission, June 15, 2018