A land­mark in prop­erty rights pro­tec­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

The State Coun­cil, China’s Cab­i­net, re­cently is­sued a guide­line on how to fur­ther im­prove the prop­erty rights sys­tem and bet­ter pro­tect prop­erty rights. The guide­line is aimed at pro­vid­ing equal, com­pre­hen­sive and law­based pro­tec­tion to all kinds of prop­erty rights.

Against the back­ground of eco­nomic down­turn, pro­tec­tion of prop­erty rights is crit­i­cal to sta­bi­liz­ing China’s eco­nomic and sus­tain­able growth.

The de­cel­er­a­tion of pri­vate in­vest­ment in the first half of this year, which has raised wide­spread con­cerns, was partly due to the coun­try’s in­dus­trial re­struc­tur­ing and a not-so-bright mar­ket prospect. The drop in pri­vate in­vest­ment is also di­rectly re­lated to in­suf­fi­cient in­vestor con­fi­dence be­cause of the lack of a stan­dard­ized and law-based sys­tem for the pro­tec­tion of pri­vate prop­erty rights.

There­fore, the guide­line aimed at strength­en­ing the pro­tec­tion of prop­erty own­er­ship rights, im­prov­ing the legal sys­tem in or­der to pro­mote equal pro­tec­tion of prop­erty rights, deal ju­di­ciously with prop­erty rights cases that are yet to be solved due to his­tor­i­cal rea­sons and strictly stan­dard­ize legal pro­ce­dures for the res­o­lu­tion of prop­erty dis­putes. It is a timely re­sponse to pub­lic con­cerns. The fact that the promised mea­sures can be im­ple­mented with­out much dif­fi­culty should boost in­vestors’ con­fi­dence in the longterm prospects of the Chi­nese econ­omy.

China has reached a crit­i­cal junc­ture in its eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and up­grad­ing, which has raised the need for new legal pro­tec­tion for prop­erty rights in the coun­try. Its on­go­ing cam­paign to trans­form and up­grade the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, which co­in­cides with the new global in­dus­trial revolution (or “Dig­i­tal Revolution”), also high­lights the need to pro­vide bet­ter pro­tec­tion for the knowl­edge-based econ­omy and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, in or­der to boost pub­lic enthusiasm for en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion and pro­pel the coun­try’s in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment to­ward achiev­ing its higher tech­no­log­i­cal goal.

In this sense, the guide­line’s prom­ise to bet­ter pro­tect in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, in­crease the cost of vi­o­lat­ing those rights and lower the cost for safe­guard­ing them will play an im­por­tant role in es­tab­lish­ing an in­no­va­tion- and en­trepreneur­ship-driven eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and ac­cel­er­at­ing the coun­try’s eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and up­grad­ing.

China’s per capita GDP is about $8,000, and its mid­dle-in­come pop­u­la­tion is about 300 mil­lion, less than one-fourth of its to­tal pop­u­la­tion. And in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ences in­di­cate the ex­pan­sion of a coun­try’s mid­dle-in­come pop­u­la­tion is de­pen­dent not just on its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, but more im­por­tantly on the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­come dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem based on the pro­tec­tion of prop­erty rights.

To ex­pand its mid­dle-in­come pop­u­la­tion, China needs to cre­ate con­di­tions for peo­ple to in­crease their in­comes via land own­er­ship, tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and man­age­ment ex­per­tise. How­ever, be­cause of the lack of a sound in­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ment for prop­erty rights pro­tec­tion — which block the chan­nels for in­come gen­er­a­tion — nei­ther ur­ban res­i­dents nor ru­ral peo­ple can in­crease their earn­ings through such means.

So, to ful­fill the re­quire­ments of its eco­nomic and so­cial trans­for­ma­tion, China has to im­prove its prop­erty rights sys­tem by ad­vanc­ing rule of law. And to bet­ter pro­tect prop­erty rights, it should safe­guard the fruits of in­no­va­tion through leg­is­la­tion.

Eco­nomic own­er­ship — which is dif­fer­ent from legal own­er­ship — should also be pro­vided proper legal pro­tec­tion so as to in­ject new vi­tal­ity into the mar­ket play­ers and fa­cil­i­tate the coun­try’s eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and up­grad­ing.

How­ever, ex­tend­ing equal pro­tec­tion to pub­lic own­er­ship and non-pub­lic own­er­ship of prop­erty means China has to address such new prob­lems as re­mov­ing the hid­den bar­ri­ers that non-public­sec­tor play­ers face in or­der to en­ter the ser­vice sec­tor and help- ing en­trepreneurs pro­tect the gains they have made via in­no­va­tion.

For­tu­nately, the State Coun­cil guide­line has promised to abol­ish reg­u­la­tions that are un­fair to non­pub­lic-sec­tor play­ers and lift the hid­den bar­ri­ers to en­sure open and fair par­tic­i­pa­tion of all el­i­gi­ble en­ter­prises and in­di­vid­u­als in the mar­ket, as well as give them equal legal pro­tec­tion. To this end, the gov­ern­ment should first prepare a list of ser­vices that can­not be of­fered by the pri­vate sec­tor, and then grant both pub­lic and pri­vate cap­i­tal free ac­cess to the rest of the ser­vice sec­tor, and es­tab­lish an in­cen­tive mech­a­nism aimed at pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion and in­creas­ing en­trepreneurs’ sense of se­cu­rity.

The doc­u­ment also points out the need to make legal ar­range­ments for the pro­tec­tion of home­own­ers af­ter the ex­piry of the 70year pe­riod for land use rights. This will help as­sure busi­nesses and in­vestors of the per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion the gov­ern­ment will pro­vide them when it comes to their prop­erty rights.

CA I H O N G

The author is pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of Re­form and De­vel­op­ment. The author is China Daily Tokyo bu­reau chief. cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

It came as no sur­prise that Your Name, the lat­est film by Ja­panese anime di­rec­tor Makoto Shinkai, which started its the­atri­cal run in China on Fri­day, has been such a hit with Chi­nese au­di­ences.

The time-trav­el­ing love story was a smash hit in Ja­pan, gross­ing some 19.7 bil­lion yen ($174 mil­lion) at the box of­fice since it opened in Au­gust.

The film has made Shinkai a phe­nom­e­non fol­low­ing the 2013 re­tire­ment of Academy Award-win­ning di­rec­tor Hayao Miyazaki, the ge­nius be­hind many anime films in­clud­ing My Neigh­bor To­toro, Spir­ited Away, Howl’s Moving Cas­tle, and Ponyo. Miyazaki has hinted about a re­turn to fea­ture film­ing and peo­ple have said teas­ingly that the suc­cess of Your Name might mo­ti­vate him to re­turn to film­mak­ing.

Your Name is a tale of two high school stu­dents, liv­ing dif­fer­ent lives in dif­fer­ent places, who pe­ri­od­i­cally in­habit each other’s bod­ies and lives. The film mixes tra­di­tion and moder­nity in a way that feels quintessen­tially Ja­panese.

Tense yet funny, un­ortho­dox yet heart­felt, Your Name is a film of dreams and ro­mance. And the col­ors, the de­tails, the light­ing and the an­i­ma­tion are all top tier.

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