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March 09, 2005

Fishbowl View of Chinese Political Economy

The Washington Post has a great little article about the closure of Silk Alley in Beijing, a place where a form of street-vendor capitalism has flourished for decades under the envious eye of China's Communist Party. The local Party officials have learned to wed their power with capitalism.

"It's quite typical," said Jiang Zezhong, an economist at Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. "The government has the power and investors have the money. They join up and together extract all the benefits."

And, Drudge links to a UK Telegraph article on worry amongst State Communist Party elite about China's bloated bureaucracy and its 46 million government employees. Aside from the corruption, the civil servants are "expensive, requiring official cars, holidays masquerading as training sessions and receptions."

The State government had an apparent motive for publishing their data as it pointed largely to the excess and corruption of the local Party officials:

Yesterday's disclosures were not the great step forward in parliamentary accountability they might appear. They fit squarely with a drive by the new party leadership to assert greater control over local government, where most of the bloated ranks of officials are to be found.
Maybe the local officials should just give the State Party elite shares in their shady public/private ventures and everyone will be happy, right?

Posted by Rick at March 9, 2005 01:04 AM

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