Chongqing's Communist Party chief has called on government officials to create a lenient investment environment for entrepreneurs and to encourage more innovative pioneering rather than simply setting restrictive rules, state media reported yesterday. Wang Yang said the economic vitality of private enterprises stemmed from their ability to create synergy through non-traditional financial avenues, social values and management, the First Financial Daily reported. 'Like all newly emerged things, irregularities in the early days of [private firms] are like innate 'birthmarks', but they are also the source of their vitality,' Mr Wang said. He urged officials to adopt a tolerant, nurturing attitude to handling mistakes by the private firms. 'Government officials have to exercise the full extent of their tolerance and understanding [to help develop the private sector],' Mr Wang said. 'Try to create a relaxed environment that permits failure, encourages experimentation and protects innovative passion to help stir up creativity.' Mr Wang's remarks - made before more than 700 officials and private entrepreneurs at a conference on Sunday - were greeted with enthusiasm. Mr Wang is the first provincial-level party secretary to openly defend the 'irregular development' of the private sector. Last month, Hu Deping , the outspoken son of late reformist leader Hu Yaobang, made a similar call to boost the private sector amid growing public pressure for the government to investigate the wealth of the mainland's super rich.