Institutional guarantee for China's development goals

By Luo Wen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 15, 2018
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China unveiled a plan on March 13 to restructure the government with a cabinet reshuffle. The institutional reform plan of the State Council was submitted to the First Session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) for deliberations. The plan is aimed at improving the government's structure, efficiency and service orientation.

After merging, restructuring, and dissolving, there will be 26 ministries and commissions, including ministries for natural resources, veterans' affairs, and emergency management.

Compared with the current cabinet setup, the number of ministerial-level entities is reduced by eight and that of vice-ministerial-level entities by seven.

According to State Councilor Wang Yong, who introduced the plan at the NPC session on March 13, the reform will strengthen the overall leadership of the Party, help modernize the system and capacity of State governance and improve governance efficiency.

Cabinet reform will focus on transforming the government's functions, removing bottlenecks that impede the market's decisive role in resource allocation and facilitating the pursuit of high-quality growth, he said.

Building a global community of shared future

Under the plan, an international development cooperation agency will be set up to perform duties such as drafting strategic guidelines, planning and foreign aid policies.

It will do overall planning and coordinating on major foreign aid issues, offer advice and advance the country's reforms in matters involving foreign aid. It also will draft foreign aid plans, identify major programs and supervise and evaluate implementation of such programs.

Liu Zhiqin, Senior Fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, said that the agency provides organizational guarantee for China's vision for the world – "Building a Global Community of Shared Future".

"China is promoting the Belt and Road Initiative which requires broad connectivity with the rest of the world and exchanges in finance, technology and talents as well as culture," Mr. Liu said, adding that he thinks the agency "will better serve the country's overall diplomatic layout and the efforts to jointly build the Belt and Road."

The agency will take over the foreign assistance duties of the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs.

Li Xiaoyun, a professor in rural development from China Agricultural University, said China's foreign aid reform plays a key role in the country's diplomacy as a major country.

Mr. Li said, "The China-proposed vision – Building a Global Community with Shared Future is the main goal for the country to provide public goods for the world. The Belt and Road Initiative is a plan to reach that goal. I think China should provide more public goods that cater to global development needs, including those in food security, health, environmental protection and climate change. China should also build the capacity to offer knowledge public goods to the world. "

Deepen reform and opening up

China is reportedly to set up its first national immigration administration. The planned establishment of the new administration is the latest indication of the importance the authorities attach to attracting highly skilled foreigners, and the role they play in helping to transform China's economy with science and innovation.

He Weibao, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said immigrants have contributed greatly to socioeconomic and scientific development in the U.S.

"Attracting the best and brightest minds around the world and allowing them to innovate and flourish have been the keys to U.S. economic and technological dominance in the past decades," said He, "China is hoping to emulate the success of the U.S."

The new administration is a "necessary step in centralizing immigration-related duties currently performed by multiple bodies", thus allowing greater efficiency, as well as improved services and protection for legal immigrants, he said.

Building a beautiful China

Another two ministries will also be set up to oversee environmental protection and management of natural resources.

The Ministry of Ecological Environment will be responsible for the compiling and implementation of China's ecological environment policies, plans and standards, as well as ecological environment monitoring and law enforcement.

The Ministry of Natural Resources will oversee the development and protection of China's natural resources, setting up and implementing a spatial planning system, and establishing a system for paid use of natural resources.

The plan is seen by many as further integration of China's ecological and environmental supervision system that will help "Build a Beautiful China", which was defined by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a goal to be met by 2035 at the 19th CPC National Congress.

Li Zuojun, research fellow and Vice-Director-General of Research Institute for Environment Policies of the Development Research Center of the State Council, noted that the new ministries show the government's conviction to tackle ecological and environmental issues.

Mr. Li said, "In the past, the overlap of government agency functions reduced work efficiency and caused a waste of resources. Now with the two new agencies, the government can consolidate its efforts to strengthen environmental law enforcement and pollution control. "

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