Actions speak louder than words

Actions speak louder than words

Taxes, quotas and other legal restrictions on imports ensure the central government protects the interests of domestic companies. In view of a lack of foreign business confidence, it's no surprise Prime Minister Li Keqiang says reform is underway.

He pledged changes to boost relations with foreign companies, at this month's World Economic Forum in Dalian . These include legal protection for multinational corporations so they get "equal treatment" with state-owned firms.

Yet, as the Chinese saying goes, the changes can treat only the symptoms, not the root causes. We all know that multinationals are wary of the unhealthy political atmosphere on the mainland. Unless there's a severe clampdown on corruption - which is unlikely to happen quickly - uncertainty will continue.

Giving speeches alone is not enough. Beijing must take long-overdue action, and fulfil its promises. Political rules must change, or people - both inside and outside the economic powerhouse - will be the losers.

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