Alarm over brain drain into business

THE massive ''migration'' of intellectuals, professors and government cadres into the commercial world could be a destabilising factor to China's fledgling market economy, according to several liberal scholars.

Mr Wu Jinglian, a market economist was quoted by the China News Service (CNS) as saying the migration might lead to an unstable society.

According to CNS, China now has more than 500,000 companies run by these self-made entrepreneurs and about 200,000 were set up last year.

''An excessive increase of these companies and a blind pursuit of profits by government departments could lead to social instability,'' Mr Wu warned.

Mr Wei Jie, professor of economy of the People's University in Beijing, said these people did not belong to China's ''market economy''.

''Without culture and knowledge, how can we develop our economy,'' the well-known novelist Ba Jin said.

The CNS report questioned the impact of a prominent private sector on China's economy.

''A market economy doesn't mean everybody going into business . . . the establishment of a market economy will need the efforts of at least one or two generations,'' it said.

It asked: ''A lot of people are now puzzled - is there anything more important than just [making] money?'' - DANIEL KWAN