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    Chinese courts ordered to give stronger protection to private businesses and entrepreneurs



    The Supreme People's Court (SPC) has ordered courts nationwide to give stronger protection to private businesses and entrepreneurs.

    The guideline, issued on Tuesday, orders courts to prevent economic disputes from being solved by criminal penalties and to correct wrongful cases in a timely manner. It also stipulates that those who use the internet, social media platforms, or publications to denigrate, disparage, and vilify private enterprises and entrepreneurs should be severely punished.

    "Overturning the wrongful judgments and correcting the judicial miscarriages in the case handling have shown our determination to uphold the justice, as well as signal to strongly protect legitimate rights and interests of private businesses," said Hu Shihao, head of the SPC's Judicial Supervision Division.

    The guideline also requires courts at all levels to help solve financial difficulties of some private enterprises by efficiently dealing with their disputes.

    From January to September this year, Chinese courts accepted 19,797 bankruptcy cases, 11,517 of which have been concluded. More than 1,000 private companies survived from the financial problems during the period, thanks to the court's restructuring and reconciliation in the case handling.

    Over the past five years, China has stepped up judicial efforts to protect legitimate rights and interests of private businesses and entrepreneurs.

    In June 2018, the SPC pronounced Zhang Wenzhong, founder and former chairman of Wumei Holdings, the parent of retail chain Wumart Stores, not guilty after a retrial, noting that the original conviction and sentence given to him was made based on insufficient evidence. Ten years ago, Zhang was sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud, embezzlement, and corporate bribery.