John Lee, author of Will China Fail? – The Limits and Contradictions of Market Socialism, argues in The Australian that the tainted milk scandal is part of a much bigger problem for Chinese civil society:
“While China has been decentralising and officials have multiplied, it is not building institutions that encourage public accountability. It’s hard to build rule of law when the party controls the courts, tribunals and law enforcement. It’s hard to have transparency when the party controls the media. It’s hard to make local officials accountable when Beijing relies on them to maintain the CCP’s hold on power in far-flung places.
Moreover, if you think China is well on its way to becoming a private-enterprise, free market economy, think again. The state remains a significant player in the Chinese economy. State businesses receive more than 70per cent of the country’s capital. The state owns more than 60per cent of the country’s fixed assets.”