China's government is giving the country a good shake-up. Most importantly, this includes attempting to reduce inequality - but the party is also reminding big business who's in charge, and is particularly taking aim at the entertainment industry.
Surely delighting parents all over the country, it is also limiting children's access to online games.
Naturally, all this will leave the Chinese Communist Party more firmly in power. It's a rare Chinese policy that doesn't.
If the need to solidify the party's position is the first thing to remember in trying to understand its policies, the second is that the CCP, always worried about its position, therefore worries about public opinion. It needs to keep the people reasonably satisfied.
Inequality dissatisfies them. China has more than 1000 billionaires, according to local rich-list publisher Hurun. At the other end of the range, people are so poor that the cost of children's education can exceed family incomes (they borrow to cover the gap).
In the middle, many young people in big cities have much less chance of buying a satisfactory home than Australians of their age. They have that problem even if they're getting pretty good money while being worked to exhaustion in internet-based businesses.
Suddenly there's a new craze, in which many people are rejecting strenuous effort and deciding that they might as well just take it easy on a modest income. This is called "lying flat" (as on a sofa), and the government isn't happy about it. It's an especially unwelcome attitude in the tech industry, which must be dynamic to lead the country's future economic growth.
Tech companies have become a particular target for the government, partly because of their management practices and, no doubt, partly because some of them have become big and influential. The CCP will not tolerate competing centres of power.
So in the past few months these companies have copped fines, cancellations of share offerings and the apparent temporary arrest of one of the biggest of the big shots, Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce company Alibaba. Then, last week, the Supreme Court ruled that one of the tech industry's favourite management rules was illegal: the one called "996", meaning working from 9am to 9pm six days a week.
Other people who seem to have too much influence are entertainment stars. The government intends to curtail investment in their industry.
A particular point of dissatisfaction is the ability of stars to soak up money from fans, many of them very poor. And some media commentary also speaks darkly about how foreign forces could exploit stars to influence fans, and therefore Chinese society.
Conservatives in the party are probably behind that paranoia. They'd also be the source of complaints that pretty-boy singers and actors - whose popularity follows a Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese trend - are turning young Chinese men into sissies.
As for online games, kids will be allowed to play them only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and then for only an hour a day. Parents who have been unable to control their children's game addictions will be grateful for this.
Since the government is also banning most tutoring, Chinese children will have a lot more time on their hands. Hopefully, they'll go outside and get a bit more exercise.
Overarching all this is the push to "level-up" society. President Xi Jinping announced the policy on August 17; it's called "Common Prosperity". As usual, what we've heard first from the Chinese government is a slogan without much detail.
But, also as usual, the government has been running a trial program, and the results of that give us an idea of what it's planning - basically shaking down private and state businesses to improve social welfare.
Trials are an important feature of Chinese government practice. Whereas in most countries, such as Australia, officials will usually attempt to design a policy that will work as soon as implemented, in China the government will very often begin by testing its latest ideas in some part of the country. It learns from the test, adjusts the policy, maybe tests the adjustments, then applies the final scheme nationally.
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A trial for Common Prosperity has been revealed by Professor David Goodman, director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. It was done in Zhejiang, a well-developed eastern province.
Social welfare in China is provided by local governments. The recommendations from the trial are that local businesses should help them - with donations or, in some unspecified way, by providing social benefits directly.
The central government can't do it, says Goodman. Beijing depends on localities to collect taxes, and it's not receiving enough from them to afford a big boost in welfare.
This may seem surprising for an authoritarian state, but it's actually pretty common to see Beijing struggling to get satisfactory results from the far-flung lower levels of the vast government system.
One important detail of Common Prosperity has been announced: a limit of 5 per cent a year for rent rises. That sounds good, but it won't make more homes available in cities with swelling populations.
Xi says the country will "regulate excessively high incomes and encourage high-income groups and enterprises to return more to society".
So charitable donations are suddenly all the rage.
There we see another weird and common feature of how the CCP runs things: very often, no one knows exactly where a limit is. Although something is frowned on, you can get away with it to some extent. But to what extent?
In this case, how much is an excessively high income? And how much is a satisfactory donation?
No doubt many a Chinese tycoon is wondering.
- Bradley Perrett was based in Beijing as a journalist from 2004 to 2020.
- This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.