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CPC: Gov't reform 'imperative'
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The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has said that pursuing further administrative reform is "imperative" for the building of a service-oriented, responsible, law-abiding and clean government.

The CPC National Committee made public a resolution titled "Opinions on deepening reform of the administrative system", which was adopted by the 17th CPC Central Committee at its second plenary session on Feb. 27.

The resolution will be handed over for debate to the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), due to open on Wednesday.

"Reforming the administrative system is an important part of political reform," the document says, adding it is an inevitable demand for the upper structure to adapt to the changes of economic reality.

"The reform will run through the whole process of the country's Reform, Opening-up and Socialist Modernization Drive," it stresses.

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to the reform of administrative management, according to the document.

Since the launch of the Reform and Opening-up Drive in the late 1970s, particularly since the 16th Party Congress in 2002, China has constantly pushed forward administrative reform and achieved much, it says.

Generally, it says, China's administrative system is suitable to the requirements of economic and social development and is capable of ensuring the development of the Reform, Opening-up and Socialist Modernization Drive.

China stands at a new historic starting-point for developing a prosperous society in a comprehensive way and the Reform and Opening-up Drive has entered into a crucial stage, the document says, adding: "Facing the new situation and new tasks, the existing system of administrative management still has some aspects that are not compliant."

The resolution lists those unsuitable aspects, such as insufficient change in government functions, excessive administrative interference in micro-economic operations, and relatively weaker social management and public services.

There are other outstanding problems, such as overlapping functions of government departments, disparities between power and responsibility, and low efficiency.

It further points out that the setting of government departments is less rational and the administrative operation and managerial system remains imperfect. There still exist the phenomena of the abuse of power, the gain of personal profits through the use of public power, and corruption, due to the imperfect supervisory and restrictive mechanism on administrative powers. In deepening administrative reform, China will uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, be guided by the Deng Xiaoping Theory and the Important Thought of "Three Represents", the document says.

According to the goal set in the document, a relatively perfect socialistic administrative system with Chinese characteristics will be established in China by 2020.

In the resolution, the CPC Central Committee calls for accelerating the functional change of the government, in order to let the government do what it should do, let the market play a fundamental role in the allocation of resources, and let citizens and civil organizations play their role in the management of public affairs, to provide public products in a more efficient way. The government should implement its functions in an overall and correct way, it says.

The government should make more use of economic and legal means to readjust economic activities, with the support of administrative means, while strengthening the government functions in promoting employment and readjusting distribution of income, it says, stressing: "The government should pay greater attention to public service."

On the issue of institutional reform, it describes the principles as simplicity, unification and efficiency, while demanding mutual restriction and coordination among the powers of decision-making, implementation and supervision.

China will explore the practice of setting up larger government departments that could combine a number of functions in an organic way.

It also calls for promoting the institutional reform of local governments, which should readjust the setting of local government departments in accordance with their main responsibilities.

The resolution stresses that abiding by the Constitution and laws should be a fundamental principle for the government. "Any power must be accompanied by responsibilities. The exercise of power must be supervised, and violation of any law must be punished," it says.

It calls for accelerating the pace of building a law-abiding government, by standardizing decision-making activities and improving the mechanism for scientific and democratic decision-making.

It pledges to set up a results-based responsibility system and a scientific and rational assessment and appraisal system for government management, while improving the supervisory system on administrative powers.

Governments at all levels must accept the supervision by the people's congresses and committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences at the same level, the document says.

"Government must be more transparent. People's rights of knowledge, participation, expression and supervision must be strictly protected," the resolution says.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2008)

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