The Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the highest national level agency in China responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes, is dropping criminal charges against business owners in a desperate effort to rescue the country’s ailing private sector, reported the Financial Times.
The decision to offer private sector executives immunity from punishment for criminal activities, including assault, hints at the extent to which Beijing is prepared to go to help companies grappling with one of the country’s worst debt crises.
Chinese prosecutors have abandoned 8,565 cases while 10,973 lawbreaking private company workers, mostly business owners, have been spared jail in the first nine months of this year, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. That is a year-on-year rise of 42% and 24% respectively.
A variety of cases, ranging from causing personal injury to invoice fraud, have been dropped despite evidence that the suspects violated the law. “We should refrain from making arrests or prosecutions or giving harsh sentences whenever possible, because arresting or prosecuting business owners will immediately cause their firms to go under and dozens or hundreds of workers to lose their jobs,” said Zhang Jun, procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, in a televised speech last month.