With the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy, corporate governance has become a high priority both for the government presiding over the transition to a more market based economy, and the businesses and shareholders at the core of market development. In 2002, for instance, China's Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Economic and Trade Commission adopted a code of corporate governance for listed and non listed companies. In 2003, the government set up a new commission, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) to divide the ownership and regulatory functions of State Owned Enterprises. The Chinese government has made capital market development and financial market stability two if its primary goals, and has recognized the value of improved transparency and governance in attaining them.
The evolution of and emphasis on governance in China has by no means been limited to the corporate sector, or even the national offices of Beijing. Rural politics has also been a primary driver of transparency and government openness in the country. Measures to strengthen access to information are being written into laws enforced on village and provincial levels. This grassroots movement is filtering up through China's system and is gaining recognition at the national level.
In June 2005, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) convened members of its Corporate Governance and Transparency Task Forces in Beijing to discuss policy alternatives and new ideas in corporate governance with Chinese scholars and policymakers.
Leading off the panel on Corporate Governance, Patrick Bolton, Chair of the IPD Task Force on Corporate Governance, Fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute, and Professor of Economics at Princeton University presented, China: A New Model of Corporate Governance? His presentation highlighted the corporate governance principles and problems China is likely to have in common with other transition and emerging market countries. He discussed 'Chinese Exceptionalism' in corporate governance, which relates to the central role of the Chinese Communist Party. The presentation touched on the central corporate governance issues China faces today, and discussed several alternative policy options and tradeoffs.
Chong-En Bai, also a member of the IPD Task Force on Corporate Governance and Chairman of the Economics Department at Tsinghua University, presented Corporate Governance and Privatization . His talk provided a snapshot of the state of Corporate Governance in Publicly listed companies and reported on recent research on privatization.
Ann Florini, Chair of the IPD Task Force on Transparency, Senior Fellow in the Foreign Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, and Director of the World Economic Forum's Global Governance Initiative, opened the panel discussion on transparency. Her presentation Global Trends in Transparency focused on the notion that China's striking moves toward greater information disclosure are occurring in a world where transparency is increasingly seen as the norm and as a powerful signal of good intentions. But many countries have discovered that good information disclosure policies are difficult to design and implement. The presentation provided an overview of global trends and highlighted successes and failures of transparency policies.
Hanhua Zhou, also a member of the IPD Task Force on Transparency and Professor of Law in the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences presented on the transparency panel. His talk titled, Openness of government Information in China: Practices, problems & Prospects introduced current developments in China regarding openness of government information, including the lawmaking process.
The event was moderated by Junhai Liu, an Associate professor, Deputy Head of Department of Commercial & Economic Law, Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).