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The government managed industry according to type and level of control, using various State Council ministries and commissions (see The State Council , ch. 10). In 1987, there were separate ministries for aeronautics, astronautics, chemical, coal, electronics, metallurgy, nuclear-energy, ordnance, petroleum, and textiles industries, light industry, the railways, and water resources and electric power; there were two commissions--the National Defense Science, Technology, and Industry Commission and the State Machine-Building Industry Commission.

In 1986 the government recognized four types of economic enterprise ownership: "ownership by the whole people" (or state ownership), collective, individual, and other. Under state ownership the productive assets of an enterprise were owned by the state, activities of the enterprise were determined by national economic plans, and profits or losses accrued to the state budget. Most of the largest modern enterprises were state-owned and directly controlled by the central government. Many other enterprises also were state-owned but were jointly supervised by the central government and authorities at the provincial, prefectural, or county levels. Profits from these enterprises were divided among the central and lower-level units (see Local Administration , ch. 10).

Under collective ownership, productive assets were owned by the workers themselves (in the case of an urban enterprise) or by the members of enterprises established by rural units. Profits and losses belonged to the members of the collective, and government authorities directed the enterprise loosely. Collectively owned enterprises were generally small and labor intensive, employing approximately 27 million people in cities and towns in 1983. Individual ownership belonged to the category of individual handicrafts in the 1950s; by the mid-1980s it also included individual enterprises with a maximum of thirty employees. The Chinese authorities left the "other" category undefined.

Data as of July 1987