The party called on the United Front to improve the government’s leadership role in the nation’s private sector, according to guidelines issued by the General Office of the CPC’s Central Committee on Tuesday. The front is an umbrella organization that aims to increase the party’s influence and control both domestically and internationally. The move aims to address emerging challenges and risks as the scale of private enterprises increases and private businesspeople have diverse values and interests.
While it’s unclear what the new policy will mean for China’s millions of private firms, it comes as the state and party are pushing for greater control and influence over more of the economy. That increasingly unclear dividing line between public and private sector is one of the factors behind rising tensions with the U.S. and other states, with ostensibly private firms such as Huawei Technologies Co. seen overseas as tools of Chinese state power.
Private businesses account for 60% of China’s economic output and create 80% of urban jobs, but their position has been difficult in recent years, with the perception that the government under President Xi Jinping favored the state sector. In addition, they have borne the brunt of the U.S.-China trade war as many are export-oriented manufacturers. The Covid-19 outbreak and economic slump have added to their woes this year.