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Institutional restructuring of gov't revs up overall reform
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The train of China's reform and opening up got refueled on Saturday when the national legislature adopted a plan for institutional restructuring of the government.

The institutional restructuring plan, characterized by the establishment of five "super ministries" and changes in the functions of other government departments, signals the country's fresh effort to push forward reform of both economic and political systems, observers said.

After overcoming countless barriers and scoring great achievements in the reform during the last 30 years, China now faces some deeply-seated problems and has to make tremendous efforts for further progress.

The reform and opening-up drive, launched in late 1978, has helped the Chinese to get rid of poverty on the whole, and the nation is working to build a moderately prosperous society, which calls for streamlining the market and administrative systems.

"If the past reform was aimed at ensuring enough food and clothing for the people, it is now aimed at goals at a higher level," said Prof. Wang Yukai of the National School of Administration.

Prof. Wang, who has long been engaged in the study of reform of the administrative system, said the endorsement of the institutional restructuring plan kicked off a new-round reform of China's administrative system.

In fact, institutional restructuring of the government has been tried in a few localities over the past few years and encouraging progress has been reported.

Seven years ago, Shenzhen, the pacesetter of China's reform and opening up, started pioneering in the restructuring of its administrative departments.

"We concentrate the administration of marine, land and air transport in the Transportation Bureau, industry and domestic and foreign trade in the Trade and Industry Bureau, and the management of radio, TV, culture, press and publication, and copy rights in the Culture Bureau," said Xu Zongheng, mayor of Shenzhen.

"These functions formerly scattered in different departments and the reshuffle has resulted in evident improvement of work efficiency," said Xu.

Competitive election of Party officials of grass-roots neighborhood committees in urban areas and village committees in the countryside will be put into practice soon, he added.

Shenzhen is commonly seen as the "experimental field" of China's reform and opening up and also a "window" for China's opening to the outside world.

Thirty years of reform and opening up have brought about historical changes in China's development -- the planned economic system has been smashed gradually and a market economic system has basically shaped up, creating a rocketing economy that is now the fourth largest in the world, said Chi Fulin, executive president of China Institute for Reform and Development.

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