Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Should we be surprised by General Secretary Xi Jinping’s recent policy initiatives to re-exert control over the private sector? One prevailing view is that they mark a distinctive break with the past couple of decades, when China produced massive fortunes for a small elite in real estate and tech. Others argue that they’re necessary to clean up messy sectors that require more effective regulatory oversight. However, the truth is that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has always been, at best, suspicious of private entrepreneurs and activities outside of its direct control, and, at worst, downright hostile. External observers have often seen what they want to see, claiming that while the party has maintained its socialist rhetoric, in practice it was not serious and could be ignored. After all, the private sector contributes 60 percent of GDP and provides almost 90 percent of new jobs in urban China. Surely, the CCP could not be serious about reining it in — or could it? History Subscribe 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.