Much has been said and written about China’s economic slowdown with shocks spreading fast and wide. But there seems to be an aspect of China’s economic situation that doesn’t seem to feature in many narratives – the breach of systems. How is China going to climb out of its economic conundrum in the face of growing political interference or intolerance in some cases?
As crude oil prices shrink and Chinese stock markets collapse, there has been a silent crackdown targeting company executives. Senior executives at more than 34 Chinese companies have in the recent months been targeted, some disappearing for days before they emerge with stories about assisting authorities with investigations.
Crackdown on corruption
On the face, China’s crackdown targeting billionaire company executives appears to be a fight against corruption. Many, if not all, of the disappearance and resurfacing cases involving company executives have been linked to corruption probes. However, it also turns out that the rule of law is defiantly disregarded in the so-called corruption crackdown. That is what concerns foreign companies doing business in the country. Could they be next in China’s crosshair?
Besides the question of who might be targeted next in the corruption crackdown, the disregard of the law and political interference in the justice system appear to highlight a country that is hampering its own efforts to get out of economic quagmire. Investors may be so scared to put their money in China. Those who already have their investment in the country might be encouraged to pull out as they fear extralegal crackdowns that may evaporate their hard-earned gains.
China maintains a tight control over the Internet. The government expanded the criminal law to allow for jailing for up to seven years anyone who uses the Internet to spread rumors over natural disasters. The problem, though, is that laws that appear to prohibit use of technology, innovation and free speech can only heighten China’s economic woes and those who do business with it can’t be safe either.