Chinese Communist Party Seeks Sway Over Private Business

Mao Zedong vowed to abolish China’s capitalists. Deng Xiaoping said they could get rich.

Now Xi Jinping, China’s current leader, has his own message for China’s private businesses that reflects a drive for both economic growth and greater Communist Party control: We’re here to help you, but you must also help and heed us.

The party that leads the world’s second-largest economy after the United States this week laid the groundwork for greater party influence over private business, while also promising them more support and opportunities to convey their needs.

Though lacking many specifics, the guidelines underscored the competing economic and political undercurrents bearing on Mr. Xi’s government. China needs to shore up growth, especially after a hit from the coronavirus epidemic. At the same time, Mr. Xi sees smaller private firms as a weak spot in his efforts to secure Communist Party dominance across society.

“Unify members of the

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