Mainland system open to corruption, says Murray

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 March, 1993, 12:00am

CHINA'S lack of clarity in the rule of law and burdensome decision-making process could open the door to corruption, warns Hutchison Whampoa managing director Simon Murray.

''The decision-making process in China still remains burdensome,'' said Mr Murray.

''People don't know who is making the decision and why they're making the decision, so that opens the door to corruption problems.'' Speaking at yesterday's Horwath annual Hotel Development and Finance Conference, Mr Murray said China's trade arbitration committee handled more cases than any arbitration panel in the world, but its decisions could not be enforced because it would not issue orders against Chinese defendants.

He said that while there might be impressive, positive and good ''stuff'' said about China, it needed to be balanced against some of the more sobering facts which ''we don't hear so much of'', which were beneath the surface.

''The other side of that coin is that many problems still remain. The aims are high and the funds are low and state-control sectors are the biggest problems,'' he said.

''The ministries that control these sectors are immensely powerful and huge, and resistant to change.

''There is concern, for example, among the policy-makers, about the ramifications of social mobility.

''Just think for a second. They are spending all those millions of dollars on the railways and roads.

''That means they are saying 'Let's build all these roads', but someone else is saying 'Wait a minute, if you do that, people will be able to move around freely and that's going to cause problems'. '' He said with that sort of bureaucracy, things would not be able to move as fast as people thought.

However, Mr Murray expressed optimism on the Chinese economy.

''On the whole, in economic terms, I'm very optimistic,'' he said.

''When talking about economic reform, it's wrong to ignore the positive influence that a winning economy can have on politics.''