Reshuffle to aid the push for centenary goals
Institutional reform will set up a strong, efficient and more transparent State and Party apparatus
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The former structure of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, was somewhat outdated, and could not meet the demands of China’s need to build a modern, efficient and market-oriented economy.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.