Chinese lawmakers began to deliberate on Tuesday a proposed government reshuffle plan that involves the establishment of five "super ministries" and a ministerial-level energy commission.
The five "super ministries" include ministries of industry and information, human resources and social security, environmental protection, housing and urban-rural construction, and transport.
The following are first reactions to the reshuffle, from deputies to the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), members of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and people from different walks of life.
"If government departments in charge of transport, energy and other sectors had better integrated their functions, China could have done a better job in fighting the winter weather disaster in the south." -- Chi Fulin, CPPCC member, executive president of China Institute for Reform and Development
"The proposed government reshuffle, the sixth in 30 years, is not of the biggest scale, but has the farthest-reaching effects in building China's socialist political culture." -- Prof. Wang Yukai, National School of Administration
"It will help create a better investment environment for businesses, who spend a lot of time under the current system waiting for their projects to be approved by several government departments." -- Wang Linxiang, NPC deputy, board chairman of Erdos Group, China's leading cashmere maker based in Inner Mongolia
The reshuffle involves 15 government departments and reduces the number of Cabinet ministries and commissions to 27 from the current 28.
After the reshuffle, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will focus on macro-regulation and phase out its involvement in economic micro-management and the examination and approval of specific projects. Ministry of Finance is to reform and improve its management of the budget and tax systems. The People's Bank of China, the central bank, is to strengthen the conduct of monetary policy and improve the exchange-rate mechanism.
"The energy commission and bureau will map out macro-development plans and work on relevant laws, regulations and policies. Things that should not be done by the government and things that the government is not able to manage well should be left to businesses or intermediary services so that the market can play its own role in redistributing resources." -- Zhang Zhigang, CPPCC member, former Vice Minister of Commerce
According to the proposed reshuffle plan, China will establish a national energy commission, a high-level and inter-ministerial consultation and coordination body, and a state energy bureau under the jurisdiction of the NDRC.
"The replacement of the State Environmental Protection Administration with a ministry embodies the country's increasing awareness of the environment issue. China is finally aware that pollution prevention is more important than pollution control." -- Huang Xihua, NPC deputy, environment official from Guangdong Province who proposed the establishment of an environmental protection ministry back in 2003
"China's logistic costs totaled 4.8 trillion yuan (about 666 billion US dollars) last year, about 20 percent of its GDP and twice as much as those reported by the developed nations. A super and comprehensive transport system is crucial in China's advancement toward a modern logistic industry and a modern nation." -- Wei Jiafu, president of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO)
The planned restructuring will include a consolidated ministry of transport, which will replace the current Ministry of Communications and the General Administration of Civil Aviation. Under the new ministry will be a new state civil aviation bureau as well as the State Post Bureau, previously under the Ministry of Information Industry.
"Theoretically speaking, health and medicine make an organic whole since ancient times. Their relationship is like that of warrior and weapon -- they must coordinate well in order to win a battle." -- Sun Fengyuan, CPPCC member, ophthalmologist from Tianjin
The State Food and Drug Administration will be put under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, to clarify the health ministry's responsibility for food and drug safety.
(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)