So­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions to be­come in­de­pen­dent GOV­ERN­MENT PLANS

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HE DAN hedan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s trade and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions will be­come in­de­pen­dent from gov­ern­ment agen­cies by 2015, the head of the na­tion’s top au­thor­i­ties that over­see so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions an­nounced on Thurs­day.

The re­form, in­tended to boost the dy­nam­ics of so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions, is ex­pected to start in about 100 na­tional trade and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions in Jan­uary, said Li Liguo, min­is­ter of civil af­fairs, at a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

Li said his min­istry is con­duct­ing a re­form plan jointly with other gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, in­clud­ing the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

Re­form on trade and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions was ar­tic­u­lated in March as a part of the State Coun­cil’s plan to trans­form gov­ern­ment func­tions to re­duce ad­min­is­tra­tive in­ter­ven­tion in the mar­ket and in so­cial is­sues.

Yang Tuan, an ex­pert with the So­cial Pol­icy Re­search Center at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said that giv­ing more au­ton­omy to so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions is vi­tal for the new lead­er­ship’s re­form agenda, which aims to give civil so­ci­eties a big­ger role in so­cial gov­er­nance.

There were more than 70,000 trade and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions and cham­bers of com­merce as of 2012, ac­cord­ing Min­is­ter of Civil Af­fairs Li Liguo and two vice-min­is­ters an­swered ques­tions on heated is­sues at a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day. The fol­low­ing are di­gests of the mea­sures to be taken by the gov­ern­ment. • Med­i­cal aid for dis­ad­van­taged groups The gov­ern­ment will strive to cover more low-in­come fam­i­lies, ex­pand the list of dis­eases in­cluded in the med­i­cal aid sys­tem, al­low im­pov­er­ished pa­tients more choice of hos­pi­tals, and im­prove the re­im­burse­ment level.

• Se­nior care in­dus­try The gov­ern­ment will fur­ther carry out sup­port­ive poli­cies to en­cour­age pri­vate in­vest­ment in prod­ucts and ser­vices for the el­derly by of­fer­ing to the min­istry’s sta­tis­tics.

“Cur­rently, most trade and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions are ei­ther founded by gov­ern­ment, or their lead­er­ship po­si­tions are taken by gov­ern­men­tal of­fi­cials or re­tirees. So it’s hard for them to get rid of bu­reau­cracy,” Yang said.

“Some­times th­ese or­ga­ni­za­tions in­cen­tives in fi­nanc­ing, land uti­liza­tion, tax de­duc­tion and ex­emp­tion, and pro­fes­sional train­ing. • So­cial gov­er­nance The gov­ern­ment sticks to the rule of law. The gov­ern­ment will en­cour­age so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in so­cial gov­er­nance and fa­cil­i­tate the preven­tion or res­o­lu­tion of so­cial con­flicts at an early stage. The gov­ern­ment will so­licit opin­ions from the pub­lic be­fore mak­ing de­ci­sions. • Dis­as­ter preven­tion and relief The gov­ern­ment will fur­ther im­prove the dis­as­ter eval­u­a­tion mech­a­nism and the ca­pac­ity of the relief ma­te­ri­als re­serve. The gov­ern­ment will make bet­ter use of fi­nan­cial and insurance tools to re­duce losses for dis­as­ter-af­fected pop­u­la­tions. are dubbed ‘a quasigov­ern­ment’,” she said, adding that the pub­lic of­ten crit­i­cized th­ese so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions for lack of in­de­pen­dence and qual­ity ser­vices for their mem­bers.

Shen Yan, the gen­eral man­ager of a wed­ding dress fac­tory in Suzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, said he can­celed mem­ber­ship in a

• Vil­lage com­mit­tee elec­tions More than 98 per­cent of vil­lages held di­rect elec­tions at the end of 2012. Bribery and other mal­prac­tices in vil­lage com­mit­tee elec­tions were un­com­mon. The gov­ern­ment will make more ef­forts to per­fect elec­tion pro­ce­dures and reg­u­la­tions to make grass­roots elec­tions more trans­par­ent and fairer.

• Child wel­fare The Min­istry of Civil Af­fairs will try to place chil­dren in plight un­der State care. Chil­dren in plight refers to those who have lost one par­ent and the other wants to give up cus­tody, and chil­dren whose par­ents have di­vorced af­ter one par­ent was im­pris­oned and the other wants to give up cus­tody. lo­cal cloth­ing trade as­so­ci­a­tion be­cause he found it “use­less”.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion just or­ga­nized one gath­er­ing in a year. It gave me no in­for­ma­tion on im­prov­ing the means of pur­chas­ing ma­te­ri­als or ex­pand­ing sales chan­nels,” he said.

How­ever, di­vorc­ing the gov­ern­ment is the first — but not the only — step to­ward pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vice for mem­bers, said Zhou Zaifeng, a pub­lic­ity and re­search of­fi­cial from the China Pa­per In­dus­try Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Zhou said his cham­ber

is in­de­pen­dent and all its lead­ers are en­trepreneurs se­lected by its nearly 300 mem­bers.

But the or­ga­ni­za­tion still faces dif­fi­cul­ties de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of its mem­bers.

“Our or­ga­ni­za­tion tries to act as a bridge be­tween the gov­ern­ment and com­pa­nies by speak­ing out about the chal­lenges and pol­icy bar­ri­ers that im­pede com­pany de­vel­op­ment, but some­times, we lack the power to sway the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Civil Af­fairs Min­is­ter Li Liguo said the gov­ern­ment will also fur­ther boost the de­vel­op­ment of so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions by re­vis­ing the reg­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment reg­u­la­tions and sim­pli­fy­ing reg­is­tra­tion pro­ce­dures.

As men­tioned in the State Coun­cil’s re­con­struc­tion plan un­veiled in March, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions have been al­lowed to reg­is­ter di­rectly with civil af­fairs au­thor­i­ties.

This has elim­i­nated the re­quire­ment to be pre-ex­am­ined and ap­proved by other reg­u­la­tors if the or­ga­ni­za­tions fall into four cat­e­gories — in­dus­trial as­so­ci­a­tions, char­i­ties, com­mu­nity ser­vices or or­ga­ni­za­tions pro­mot­ing tech­nol­ogy.

As of Septem­ber, China was home to more than 511,000 so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions, which boast fixed as­sets of 195 bil­lion yuan ($32 bil­lion) and pro­vided jobs for about 12.18 mil­lion peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

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