Campaign against Monopoly

Li’s remark is echoed by Xu Kunlin, director general of the Price Supervision and Anti-Monopoly Bureau under the NDRC. Xu states that equal treatment of local and overseas companies embodies the spirit of the Anti-Monopoly Law and the principle China always adheres to during law enforcement. The nation’s enforcement of anti-monopoly laws has nothing to do with the ownership, Xu says, but rather aims at ensuring fair market competition.

“Criticism on ‘selective enforcement’ is a bias that does not reflect the reality,” Shi Jianzhong revealed. In the past six years, antitrust investigations covered state-owned enterprises, private firms, and foreign-funded companies in wide-ranging sectors without discrimination.


Efforts Stepping Up

In the past two years, the increasingly frequent investigations and punishments for monopolistic practices in China have drawn much attention.

“Before, we only focused on serious cases involving companies which had flagrantly violated the law,” Bai Ming said. He acknowledged that China’s law enforcement ability is weak and its system incomplete in the past. Having accumulated experience for six years, law enforcement is expected to play a more important role in maintaining market order and unbiased market competition as well as in protecting the rights of consumers.

Bai believes that future antitrust investigations and sanctions will be carried out more often and in a wider range of industries. The probes into the producers of LCDs, milk powder, liquor, automobiles, insurance, and cement show that the country is expanding the scale of antitrust actions.

According to Shi Jianzhong, the antitrust campaign in China has indeed entered a new phase, in which any industry or company will be subject to investigations if it commits monopolistic behavior. He also emphasized that law enforcement capability must be enhanced. In addition, a hefty punishment is not necessarily appropriate in all cases. Rather, penalties should be tailored according to the damages caused by guilty companies to their competitors and customers.


ZENG HUISHENG is a journalist with China News Service.


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