Thursday, January 31, 2008
The State Council's latest batch of abolished regulations includes the 1987 Provisional Regulations for the Administrative Punishment of Speculation (投机倒把行政处罚暂行条例) and the corresponding 1990 Implementing Rules. The reason for the abolition? "The object of regulation has disappeared, and [the regulation] has already lost its effect in practice" (调整对象已消失，实际上已经失效).
Since the crime of "speculation" (投机倒把) disappeared with the 1997 revised Criminal Law, these State Council regulations were pretty much the last refuge of this pre-reform-era concept, which might mean nothing more than buying low and selling high. The regulations themselves barred such vaguely-defined activities as "jacking up prices" (哄抬物价) and "other speculative activities that disturb the socialist economic order" (其他扰乱社会主义经济秩序的投机倒把行为).
Some of the specific activities that were deemed to constitute speculation might still, of course, be illegal, but the final (it seems) death of this particular term in the Chinese legal system should not go unmarked.