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Gov't reshuffle not aimed at shedding civil service jobs
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The creation of a new super-ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is not a cost-cutting exercise aimed at shedding civil service jobs, but a strategic move to improve the overall management of China's human resources, according to a human resources specialist Wu Jiang.

In an interview with 21st Century Business Herald on March 14, Wu, president of the China Academy of Personnel Science, said that one of the new ministry's main tasks will be to harmonize the differing personnel and social security polices presently operated by government, public and private employers.

The main points of the interview follow:

21st Century Business Herald: The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security will be established by merging the Ministry of Labor and Social Security with the Ministry of Personnel. What lies behind this restructure?

Wu Jiang: The reorganization aims at building China into a strong nation in terms of manpower, by integrating the human resources market and making overall plans for the development and management of the human resources of state organs, enterprises and public institutions

In China, state organs, public institutions and enterprises all have different approaches to human resources management, but we need coordinated policies. For example, the Ministry of Personnel is in charge of public appointments, but government employees often encounter problems when moving to different sectors due to differing social security systems. The personnel management of civil servants should continue to be based on the Civil Servants Law. But it also needs to provide for the effective redeployment of staff after resignation, dismissal or retirement.

We need a comprehensive approach to employment and social security policy. At present China has a decentralized social security system, so, for example, retirees in different areas, or from employers in different sectors receive widely differing levels of pensions. Social security systems, including pension provision, unemployment insurance, and industrial injury insurance need to be planned comprehensively.

21st Century Business Herald: Why did the central government decide to set up the State Bureau of Civil Servants?

Wu Jiang: The State Bureau of Civil Servants reports to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and will focus on the management of civil servants. With this as its single function, it will make the personnel management of civil servants easier.

In China, civil servants are employed in various bodies, such as Party organizations, government departments, courts and procuratorates. We need a unified approach to civil servant management.

21st Century Business Herald: The Civil Servant Department under the former Ministry of Personnel, was in charge of classification of positions, employment, evaluation, promotion and demotion, appointments and personnel exchanges. What will the functions of the newly established bureau be?

Wu Jiang: The new bureau is at deputy ministerial level. It will exercise many of the functions of the Civil Servant Department, which will be unnecessary after the new bureau is set up.

21st Century Business Herald: Will the government reshuffle involve large-scale redundancies?

Wu Jiang: The present number of civil servants is about what is required to meet the needs of administrative management.

Previous institutional reforms have focused on streamlining and redundancy. But this restructure aims at reorganizing the functions of government.

I believe this administrative reform will not focus on redundancy.

21st Century Business Herald: The reform will dismantle and merge organizations, so leadership posts will disappear. How can this issue be resolved without redundancies?

Wu Jiang: The implementation of the super-ministries system will not change the basic government hierarchy.

In addition, we have accumulated broad experience in the previous reforms, such as how to train staff to take up new positions.

There will be special arrangements during the transition period, which may even require adding more leadership posts on a temporary basis. We will try to look after everybody's interests in order to reduce the resistance to the reshuffle, based on our experience of previous reforms.

(China.org.cn by Yang Xi, March 17, 2008)

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