China's SASAC: spurring the shift to privatization or holding on?

Competing pressures have created a hybrid.

Last week, the chairman of the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Committee SASAC, Li Rongrong, started a whirlwind tour of China's three northeastern provinces, previously China's heavy industry base, but now mired in high levels of unemployment and poverty.

The visit has raised a typically subtle set of issues about the role of an entity, set up last year to bring order to what was becoming a pell-mell sell-off of state assets in the more independent provinces.

On the most recent stopover in the province of Heilongjiang, Li visited one of the fallen industrial giants, No.1 Heavy Industry Group, a maker of steel and heavy machinery....

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