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Public Interest Shouldn't Be Forgotten in Policy Changes

With its social transformation at a critical stage and problems mounting, China needs to keep the public's needs in mind.

By Xu Mouquan Updated Jun.19

The public interest should be the starting point of all China’s  policies, including policy changes. With its social transformation at a critical stage and social problems mounting, this principle must be adhered to more than ever, an expert said.  
Some local governments in China have followed a "one-size-fits-all" approach in redressing previous grey-area policies. The most attention-catching event has been Shanghai's policy change around commercial housing.  
The megalopolis' housing prices are beyond the reach of most of its residents, and some opt for extremely small apartments as a result. Some real estate developers turn, without permission,  office building projects into residential ones to cater to the demand. According to the Shanghai plan, those who have bought such property but haven't have it delivered will see their houses converted into offices.
Chu Yin, associate professor with University of International Relations in Beijing, first praised the local government as being highly principled in its approach to such problems in a commentary at newspaper China Youth Daily. 
But more importantly, he noted, China’s reforms are somewhat based on a “trial-and-error” mode, which might inevitably bring about inconsistencies. Government departments mustn’t simply reject the existing irregularities once and for all, without thinking about those affected. That's especially the case when the evasion of the rules was actually ignored or even encouraged by the departments in the past, whether because of incompetence or corruption. People who've invested their lifetime savings as a result of these policy failures shouldn't pay the price themselves.