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People versus big business
China Daily  Updated: 2006-03-16 05:47

When an issue concerning the public can't be solved in the economic arena, the government should get involved, says an article in Nanfang Daily. An excerpt follows:

Sun Xiulan, a deputy of the National People's Congress, has called for the cancellation of monthly rental charges for fixed-line and mobile telephones. She said the charges do not tally with the enterprises' code of conduct and are not fair play. They burden consumers and lead to uneven distribution of social wealth.

Unfair charging in the telecommunication industry has been a major public complaint in recent years. The first-time installation fee for fixed-line telephones and the network entry charge for mobile phones were abolished thanks to pressure from consumers and the media, but the monthly rental fees and two-way charges for mobile phones remain.

Sun's proposal directly points to an ill of the times. It is a responsible action by an NPC deputy.

Such issues are economic issues between enterprises and consumers. They should follow economic rules, such as both parties of the contract being equal, but they should also come under government supervision. In this instance, however, the charges are forced on consumers by telecommunication operators, and related government departments just give the green light no matter what. Such charges bring about huge monopoly profits,

On the one hand, this issue concerns the public interest, as the telecommunication industry impacts on almost all people and families. On the other hand, this issue cannot be solved impartially in the economic arena, so it has to be referred to the government.

Here the major point of discussion is how government departments should supervise economic affairs.

(China Daily 03/16/2006 page4)

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