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Lawmakers to deliberate draft plan of ministries reform
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Chinese lawmakers on Tuesday will begin deliberating the draft plan of ministries reform, a key agendum at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.

It will be the sixth major institutional restructuring aimed at building an efficient and service-oriented government since China launched the reform and opening drive three decades ago.

Delivering the government work report to lawmakers last week, Premier Wen Jiabao said the reform of the administrative system is "an important link in deepening reform, an important part of the reform of political institutions, and an essential step in improving the socialist market economy."

The Communist Party of China (CPC) vowed to deepen political restructuring at its 17th National Congress last October, triggering expectations on what steps would be taken at the following parliament session.

The CPC Central Committee approved on Feb. 27 a plan on the institutional restructuring of the State Council, the cabinet, which was submitted to the ongoing parliament session for deliberation.

The plan had been carefully studied and had solicited opinions from many sectors of society, sources said.

The move attracted great attention soon after the news about the reform plan was released.

"Political restructuring, as part of the overall reform, must be deepened with social and economic development," said Prof. Shu Yang with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.

Chinese administrative system and institutional structure, which had been improved over the past 30 years, generally meet the needs of social and economic development, said Yuan Shuhong, vice president of the National School of Administration.

However, Yuan said economy and society develop rapidly in recent years and demand corresponding changes in the institutional structure.

Premier Wen also acknowledged the need for changes in his government work report.

"We are keenly aware that the work and accomplishments of the government still fall somewhat short of what circumstances require and the people expect," Wen said. "The functions of government have not been completely transformed, and public administration and public services are still weak."

The NPC annual session started on March 5 and is scheduled to conclude on March 18, with nearly 3,000 deputies from nationwide to underline state affairs including the cabinet ministries reform, the election of state leadership, hearing and deliberating government work report, among others.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2008)

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