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Ministry Reports on Improvements in Protection of Basic Rights

During the first year -- 2001 -- of China’s Tenth-Five-year Plan (2001-2005), the people’s basic rights have been protected further by comprehensive development and progress in civil administration at different levels. Here are some of the highlights of the year’s breakthroughs.

Disaster and social relief

Government made great progress throughout the country in ensuring a minimum standard of living for both urban and rural residents. Some 15.7 million households are eligible to receive a basic living allowance, up 121.9 percent from the previous year. So far, 11.234 million families are covered by the system, up 194.2 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, the system is also being extended in the rural areas and is playing an active role in safeguarding social stability.

Much relief work has been done during years haunted by drought. The 30-billion-yuan (US$3.63 billion) relief funds appropriated by central government and more than 10-billion-yuan (US$1.21 billion) funds by local financial institutes helped people in drought-stricken regions get through the natural disaster.

Stations for donated materials have been set up in big or middle-sized cities where the activity of making donations has become widely accepted. Within the year 2001 alone, some 10,970 pieces of clothing and blankets were donated to civil administration departments. Their value was estimated at 810 million yuan (US$97.98 million), an increase of 81.9 percent over the previous year. According to donors’ wishes, all clothes and blankets were used to help people in drought-stricken areas get back to a normal life as soon as possible.

Special care for the bereaved and others

The number of people in need of government help is decreasing. By the end of 2001, their number had decreased to 38.5 million, a 1.6 percent drop from the previous year. The state continues to emphasize providing comfort and compensation for bereaved families. While the number of the people who have to depend on government’s life support decreases, the number of people who received government’s subsidies and allowance increased by 0.1 percent, 4.686 million in total.

Meanwhile, civil administration work also made proper arrangements for demobilized soldiers and retired officials. Experimental work in this respect offered rich experience in making arrangements for future reforms for demobilized soldiers.

Political power at the grass roots and community construction

The ongoing reform and innovation further improved community-building in urban areas. By the end of 2001, 213,000 service infrastructures had been set up, an increase of 6 percent compared with the previous year, among which the community centers counted for 9,924, an increase of 22.4 percent compared with the previous year.

Through various community-building activities, many civilized urban communities have emerged with good order, high-quality service, optimized management, and excellent cultural atmosphere. The residents’ overall quality and the residents’ living standards have all been greatly improved.

The social security service network within rural areas has been improved, too. So far, 19,426 counties have established the country’s social security service networks, keeping pace with the previous year.

Social welfare and social affairs

The number of public institutions with social welfare is enjoying a steady increase. By the end of 2001, there were 39,000 institutions across the whole country providing board and lodging for people otherwise lacking such support. The 116,000 beds indicated a 3.3 percent increase over the previous year, and the 880,000 people accepted at public institutions suggested a 4.4 percent rise from the previous year. Of the 39,000 institutions, some 1,636 were privately-run institutions with 64,000 beds to accommodate some 48,000 people.

Layoffs of redundant employees and work-place efficiency still were encouraged within welfare-providing enterprises. Altogether some 38,000 welfare enterprises existed across the whole country, 4,000 enterprises fewer compared with the previous year; and in the whole year, benefits of 1,130-billion-yuan (US$136.70 billion) were distributed among these enterprises. Some 721,000 disabled personnel were reported in 2001.

Definition and clarification of administrative areas

By the end of 2001, above the prefectures’ administrative level, there were 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities directly under the central government, and two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao; besides, there were 67 prefectures -- a 10.4 decrease compared with the previous year, 658 cities, 1,659 counties -- a 0.9 percent decrease compared with the previous year -- and 808 districts under the city government, indicating another 2.7 percent increase compared with the previous year. Major changes in the classification of the administrative areas in China were as follows: The canceling of Huairou County of Beijing and establishing of Huairou district; the canceling of Pinggu County of Beijing and establishing of Pinggu district; the canceling of Xinjiang Yili district, etc.

The autonomous places of China included five autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures, 116 autonomous counties and three banners.

A border survey against different administrative classifications has been completed. So far, the border survey covers 68 provincial borders of over 62,000 km (38,526.8 miles), and 6,300 county borders of over 416,000 km (258,502.4 miles), putting an end to China’s history of having no judicial border between provinces and counties over the past several thousand years.

Capital’s collection and input

Expenditure for administrative work has seen a steady increase. The total expenditure for the whole country’s administrative work in 2001 was 27.01 billion yuan (US$3.267 billion), an increase of 26.4 percent compared with the year past. Included in the expenditure, 3.54 billion yuan (US$0.43 billion) was used in disaster relief, 23.6 percent increase compared with the previous year; 4.2 billion yuan (US$508.07 million) for citizens’ basic living guarantees, a 71.3 percent increase compared with the previous year; 1.92 billion yuan (US$232.26 million) was put into the investment for infrastructure construction within the civil administrative system, which is another 54.8 percent increase over the previous year. Government expenses for providing the five guarantees (namely food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses) under a coordinated plan for infirm and childless old people in Chinese rural areas reached 3.44 billion yuan (US$416.13 million), a 3.6 increase compared with the previous year.

Welfare lotteries issued in 2001 took in 14.6 billion yuan (US$1.77 billion), and social welfare funds collected 4.12 billion yuan (US$498.40 million).

(民政部 [Ministry of Civil Affairs] translated by Feng Shu for china.org.cn March 6, 2002)

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