According to the work report of the National People's Congress Standing Committee released on Monday, the top legislature of the country is amending five laws, including the Anti-Trust Law.
The work plan of the NPC Standing Committee three years ago first talked about amendment to the Anti-Trust Law, which was enacted in August 2008. The wide attention the law's amendment has attracted from society speaks volumes of its necessity. The fast changing market and economy have provided lawmakers meaningful references for revising the law.
In December, the Central Economic Work Conference asked the relevant authorities to fight monopoly and unfair competition, defining it as an inherent requirement for the betterment of the socialist market economy and higher-quality development. The Government Work Report this year also says anti-monopoly measures are key to safeguarding fair competition.
As the anti-trust department's probes into some internet platform companies late last year indicate, the revised law should be able to help the country address the emerging monopoly problem in the internet industry.
With their businesses penetrating deeply into finance, information, logistics, public services and technology, several big e-commerce and social media companies have become so powerful that they cannot only stifle new companies but also influence national security and social stability. In other words, these corporations have acquired the ability to crush competition and innovation and ignore public interests for monopoly interests.
The anti-trust committee of the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued an anti-trust guideline on the platform economy sector last month, which can be regarded as a summary of its experience in the sector. That guideline might offer lawmakers some firsthand experience and help them revise the law.
Through revision, the Anti-Trust Law that has for long been described as toothless should not only become easier to enforce to check monopoly, but also provide legal means for the smaller companies to defend their lawful rights and interests. That being said, the lawmakers need to bear in mind that the purpose of the law is to promote competition, innovation and entrepreneurship, and build a business environment based on the rule of law.