Reshuf­fle to aid the push for cen­te­nary goals

In­sti­tu­tional re­form will set up a strong, ef­fi­cient and more trans­par­ent State and Party ap­pa­ra­tus

China Daily European Weekly - - COMMENT - By YAO SHUJIE The au­thor is Chueng Kong Pro­fes­sor of Eco­nomics at Chongqing Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Nottingham Ningbo China. The views do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect those of China Daily.

The 13th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress of China ap­proved the plan to re­or­ga­nize the min­istries and other func­tional ad­min­is­tra­tions un­der the State Coun­cil. This in­sti­tu­tional reshuf­fling is pro­found, com­pre­hen­sive and un­prece­dented for many years, as it aims to achieve the new goals, set by the 19th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee in Oc­to­ber, that China will re­al­ize its dream of a great re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion by the mid­dle of the cen­tury.

Un­der the new gov­ern­men­tal re­struc­ture, eight min­istries and seven sub­min­istry-level State ad­min­is­tra­tions have been elim­i­nated, and their func­tions have been ab­sorbed by other min­istries or de­part­ments. Some min­istries are re­or­ga­nized to in­clude more gov­ern­ing func­tions, such as the Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Coun­try­side, and the Min­istry of Hy­giene and Health Ser­vices. In ad­di­tion, some min­istries or func­tional ad­min­is­tra­tions are newly cre­ated to meet the needs of a modern econ­omy and so­cial changes, par­tic­u­larly the Na­tional Su­per­vi­sion Com­mit­tee, the Min­istry of Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, the State Im­mi­gra­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the State In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Co­op­er­a­tion Agency and the Min­istry of Emer­gency.

The for­mer struc­ture of the State Coun­cil, China’s Cabi­net, was some­what out­dated, and could not meet the de­mands of China’s need to build a modern, ef­fi­cient and mar­ket-ori­ented econ­omy. Some for­mer State or­gans shared a sim­i­lar func­tion, re­strict­ing the State’s abil­ity to fo­cus its effort on solv­ing the same prob­lems with­out seek­ing help from a num­ber of de­part­ments. For ex­am­ple, a ru­ral de­vel­op­ment pro­ject used to be ex­e­cuted by a few min­istries, in­clud­ing the State Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee, the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and the Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy. By mov­ing the spe­cific func­tion of ru­ral de­vel­op­ment from other min­istries to the new Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Coun­try­side, State re­sources can be mo­bi­lized more quickly and used more ef­fi­ciently un­der the man­age­ment and su­per­vi­sion of a sin­gle min­istry.

An­other prob­lem in the old or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture is that many sub­min­istry-level State ad­min­is­tra­tions were cre­ated more or less on an ad hoc ba­sis to deal with a par­tic­u­lar is­sue at the time of their cre­ation. For ex­am­ple, the Bureau of For­eign Ex­perts was cre­ated when China needed many for­eign ex­perts to help its eco­nomic open­ness and de­vel­op­ment. Over time, the bureau ap­pears to have played a much less im­por­tant role rel­a­tive to the ever-ris­ing com­plex­ity of the na­tional econ­omy. As a re­sult, it has now be­come part of the new Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, which also man­ages the Nat­u­ral Science Foun­da­tion of China, an­other sub­min­istry-level or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Other State ad­min­is­tra­tions that are re­struc­tured in the same way in­clude the State Tourism Bureau, the State Coun­cil Of­fice of Three Gorges Dam Con­struc­tion and the State Coun­cil Of­fice of the SouthNorth Wa­ter Trans­mis­sion. The pur­pose of this reshuf­fling is to re­duce the num­ber of State ad­min­is­tra­tions, im­prove gov­er­nance ef­fi­ciency and pro­vide space to ac­com­mo­date the newly cre­ated and more im­por­tant State de­part­ments.

Some min­istries are newly cre­ated or re­or­ga­nized to meet the need of a rapidly changing society and to sat­isfy peo­ple’s ris­ing de­mands. For ex­am­ple, the Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment, the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, the Min­istry of Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans Ser­vices, the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Coun­try­side, the Min­istry of Cul­tural and Tourism, the Min­istry of Emer­gency and the State Su­per­vi­sion Com­mit­tee have been cre­ated or re­or­ga­nized with ex­tended func­tions be­cause they are de­signed to carry out China’s “five con­struc­tions for one pur­pose” strat­egy and “four over­alls” poli­cies. The five con­struc­tions are pol­i­tics, econ­omy, society, cul­ture and ecol­ogy, and the four over­alls are build­ing an all-around well-off society, over­all deep­en­ing of re­form, over­all gov­ern­ing of the coun­try through law and over­all strict con­tain­ment of Party cor­rup­tion.

Un­der the core lead­er­ship of Xi Jin­ping in a new era, the CPC will strengthen its lead­er­ship role in all as­pects of Chi­nese society and gov­ern­ment, which is the unique and de­fined fea­ture of an ad­vanced so­cial­ist society with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. The Party as well as the Chi­nese peo­ple must be con­fi­dent in the Chi­nese po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, Chi­nese the­ory, Chi­nese cul­ture and the Chi­nese Con­sti­tu­tion. They should also have four self-con­sen­suses: po­lit­i­cal, over­all, core lead­er­ship and fol­low­ing the su­pe­rior au­thor­ity.

The present in­sti­tu­tional re­form will set up a strong, ef­fi­cient and more trans­par­ent State and Party ap­pa­ra­tus that will al­low the CPC to play its core lead­er­ship role with max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency and ab­so­lute au­thor­ity. It will also al­low ev­ery State depart­ment to ex­e­cute its duty with full au­thor­ity and bear con­se­quent re­spon­si­bil­ity if it does not per­form well and makes se­ri­ous mis­takes. The en­tire ad­min­is­tra­tive sys­tem will carry out the goals and ob­jec­tives set out by the above­men­tioned “five con­struc­tions with one pur­pose” and the “four over­alls” strate­gies pro­mul­gated by the CPC for China to re­al­ize its Two Cen­te­nary Goals — that is, to build an all-around well-off society by 2020 and to build a strong, demo­cratic, har­mo­nious, civ­i­lized and beau­ti­ful so­cial­ist coun­try with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics by the mid­dle of the cen­tury.

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