The Communist Party of China (CPC) has pledged to build a service-oriented government that provides efficient public administration and better social services to promote "coordinated economic and social development".
"More attention should be attached to public services," says the Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on Major Issues Regarding the Building of a Harmonious Socialist Society, published on Wednesday.
Chinese scholars use the phrase "one leg longer than the other" to describe the imbalance between fast economic development for more than 20 years and inadequate social services.
The inadequacy is reflected in unemployment, exorbitant medical charges, a limited number of premium schools, unsafe food and environmental pollution.
The resolution, adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the CPC on Oct. 11, says social services will be improved dramatically while the county continues to center on economic development.
The resolution says the creation of jobs should become a major objective of economic and social development and adjustment of economic structure. It calls for the development of labor-intensive industries, the service industry, private businesses and small and medium-sized businesses to expand employment and promote harmony between employers and employees.
According to a survey frequently cited by Chinese experts, 25 million unemployed urban people competed for 11 million newly created jobs this year. The number of unemployed urban people will stay at around 10 million for several years.
The resolution says the growth rate of fiscal spending on education should be markedly higher than the growth rate of fiscal revenue. The ratio of fiscal spending on education to GDP should be raised to four percent. This objective was supposed to be attained by the end of the 20th century, according to a program on the reform and development of China's education published in 1993. The ratio reached only 2.79 percent in 2004.
The resolution demands a significant improvement in medical and health care services. It says a basic healthcare system should be built to cover both urban and rural residents.
Exorbitant medical service charges have kept many sick people out of hospital, triggering strong demand for medical system reform. Under the current system, doctors benefit from the amount of medicine they prescribe to patients. The higher the medicine costs, the higher a doctor's salary.
As a result, many doctors do not prescribe low-cost but effective medicine. Penicillin, a low-cost medicine, is rarely prescribed in large hospitals nowadays.
The resolution urges the acceleration of the construction of a public cultural service system, ensuring television programs are transmitted to all villages and establishing cultural centers in communities and townships.
It calls for better efforts in environmental protection and boosting harmony between human beings and nature. It says the construction of a conservation-minded and environment-friendly society should be accelerated. Industrial policies, fiscal and taxation policies and pricing policies shall be amended to encourage environmental protection.
The resolution says a basic public service system that covers all people should be established gradually, with special attention paid to people in rural areas, at grassroots levels and in less developed regions.
It says the public administration system will be reformed to provide efficient and quality service to the public. Transparency of government affairs shall be enhanced and construction of the e-government system shall be accelerated to enable people to participate in economic and social activities.
It also calls for the improvement of service and administration networks in communities, giving social organizations a bigger role in providing social services, relaying opinions and petitions and regulating professional behaviors, expanding channels through which people can express their opinions easily, improving an emergency handling mechanism, beefing up public security and enhancing national security and national defense.
(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2006)