Xi Jinping has two big problems as a student of economics. One, he and his government seem to have no idea of what motivates people to invest and take economic risks. Two, Beijing seems unable to resist any exercise of power.
Both these problems show clearly in Beijing’s heightened use of exit bans against dissidents, minorities, critics of the Communist Chinese Party (CCP), and increasingly against businesspeople—domestic and foreign. These bans may enhance government power, but they will certainly work against Beijing’s avowed desire to bolster business confidence and so encourage investing and growth.
The CCP has long banned dissidents from leaving the country. Occasionally, bans were used against prominent businesspeople who criticized Party policies. But in the years since Xi has come to power, the authorities have passed more laws to allow such bans and have applied them more broadly. There are presently 15 such laws in place. Five of these have passed in just the last five years….