Innovation continues to fuel Shenzhen's growth
China's first regulation on individual bankruptcy, for example, can provide a second chance for businesspeople. Since the regulation took effect on March 1, 2021, the Shenzhen court had reviewed more than 940 individual bankruptcy cases as of the beginning of this year, covering the three procedures of liquidation, restructuring and reconciliation under the new regulation.
In June 2021, the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court made the nation's first bankruptcy ruling regarding an individual.
A business owner surnamed Hu had to close her store six years ago due to external reasons, and owed 4.8 million yuan to creditors. In 2018, she sold her house and used all of the 2.6 million yuan in proceeds to help pay her debts.
She continued to pay more each month since then, but her income was cut off entirely in 2020.
"I still want to pay off my debts, but the reality is I just can't make it," she is quoted as saying in a news release from the court.
Her payment was overdue for more than a year, and the accumulated debt pushed her to "the darkest days" of her life, she said.
The individual bankruptcy judgment gave Hu a chance by exempting her from paying any remaining debt following a three-year observation period, during which she needs to report her income and spending, and continue to make payments toward her debts.
Hu said it was like being "reborn".
"In a few years, we will be free from debt. ...Regulations and laws are not ruthless, and we really need to believe in the law."
The regulation sets up a system for entities to withdraw from the market by rule of law, but it does not help them avoid paying debts, said Cao Qixuan, chief judge of the Shenzhen Bankruptcy Court at the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court.
He said he believes that Shenzhen "needs such a system and should take more responsibility for making new rules, because the city has diversified and prosperous commercial activities.
"We have fully activated the personal bankruptcy system design, popularized the concept of individual bankruptcy and protected the vitality of innovation and entrepreneurship," Cao said.
"Shenzhen has accumulated valuable experience for the national practice of an individual bankruptcy system," he added.
Innovative reform measures have also brought down-to-earth benefits to people's lives. The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, which opened in 2012, was built and funded by the Shenzhen government and has become an integral part of the nation's medical reform process.
It is the first hospital to pilot the Hong Kong and Macao Medicine and Equipment Connect policy, which was issued by the National Medical Products Administration in November 2020.
The program allows designated mainland hospitals to use Hong Kong-approved drugs and medical devices without prior certification from the National Medical Products Administration, which otherwise could take years for approval.
According to the hospital, 13 urgently needed drugs and four medical devices had been imported as of March under the program, benefiting more than 450 people.
The innovative medical policy benefits not only local residents but also patients in other areas of the mainland. The first medical device obtained under the medical connect program was used to perform an operation on a 9-year-old boy who is from a small town in Hebei province and who has severe scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person's spine has a sideways curve.
While conventional treatment would involve inserting a growth rod into the child's back, a surgical procedure that would need to be repeated every six months until the boy fully recovered, the new treatment introduced from Hong Kong required a single minimally invasive operation that was performed at the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital.