After all, this is always a story to warm the hearts of westerners writing about China. The growth of the productive private sector can always be favorably compared to slothful state enterprises.
More importantly, it comfortably confirms for westerners the rightness of the advice that they have been giving to the Chinese along: let a thousand private companies bloom and be damned with everything else, because the market will work it all out for you.
It is certainly true that private entrepreneurs have thrived in China over the past five years, largely thanks to the huge strides made at the 2002 Communist Party Congress, which introduced a degree of recognition and protection for private property.
The party may have done the right thing for all the wrong reasons – after all, the entrepreneurs were helping officials make money – but the declaration marked a moment in time nonetheless.
The party's recognition has been bolstered by a number of studies late last year which declared that the private economy was worth as much as three-quarters of Chinese gross domestic product.
The studies were a little dodgy – they assumed that the so-called "collective" economy, such as township enterprises, were in fact private. But once again, the mere fact that such a study could be plausibly debated tells you something about how China has changed these past few years.
Fat Dragon doesn't think this is the main story, though. The private sector has been growing, for sure, but under the wing of an aggressive reassertion of state power in the economy. An extraordinary number of sectors remain designated as "strategic" in China, which ensures they remain under the control of the state in one form or another.
Cars, mobile phones, power, oil, railways and the financial sector, which includes insurers, securities companies and fund managers – the list is so long you have to ask yourself how could anyone think that the private sector controls the bulk of the economy in China.
Not only has the state kept control of a vast swath of the economy, it has aggressively protected its turf over the last 12 months. A classic example is Chalco, China's aluminium giant, which has crushed all private sector efforts to get into the alumina business by demanding a cut along the way from any new entrant into the market.
In China, the state – and not just state enterprises – is a strategic enterprise in itself for the ruling party, and there is a concerted campaign on foot to ensure that it holds on to this controlling position.
In short, the empire is striking back in China, and those of us paid to watch China for a living should not underestimate the extent of its power.
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