This is the first time China holds a WTA event. Organizers hope local players as many as possible can play here. Meanwhile they did not want to affect the chances of other foreign players. This is why 4 byes are replaced by 4 active players. This is rare indeed.
Yeah qualifing is hard but it gives you the much needed match play cause if you have to play qualifiers it probably means you don't have much experience anyway. And that is why wildcards are so useful!
And byes are useful and needed because the top players are the ones who reach the later rounds, so they play more matches than the other players usually, so the byes give them time to recover from the previous tournaments if any, the jet lag, and reduces the number of matches they have to play, thereby reducing a chance of an injury!null