CHICAGO – U.S. political leaders have long tried to counter Chinese industrial policy. And now they seem to have decided that the best way to do that is to emulate it. But their agenda betrays a profound lack of understanding of the unique challenge posed by China’s coupling of an authoritarian political regime with a dynamic market economy. Millions of Chinese firms, including some of the world’s most innovative, are occasionally asked to serve the regime’s political objectives — an unprecedented marriage of pioneering private companies and a Leninist one-party state. Western countries cannot match it, and should not begin to try. But much of the U.S. economic policy response to China is misdirected. For example, the United States wants to curtail China’s support for state-owned firms, despite the overwhelming evidence that such assistance starves private Chinese businesses of resources. The real challenge to America comes from private companies such aSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.