China unveiled a plan on March 13 for its biggest Cabinet reshuffling in years, as part of an effort to improve the government’s structure, efficiency and service orientation.
The institutional reform plan of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, says the body will have 26 ministries and commissions after its reshuffle. The State Council’s ministerial-level entities will be reduced by eight and vice-ministerial-level entities will fall by seven.
The reform plan was submitted to the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) for deliberation.
New entities include ministries of natural resources, veterans’ affairs and emergency management.
There will also be new administrations under the State Council such as an international development cooperation agency and a State immigration administration.
The reform aims to push forward institutional restructuring in key areas. It is designed to strengthen the government’s economic management, market supervision, social management, public service and environmental protection.
State Councilor Wang Yong, who introduced the plan at the NPC session on March 13, said the reform will strengthen the overall leadership of the Party, help modernize the system and capacity of State governance and improve governance efficiency.
Cabinet reform will focus on transforming the government’s functions, removing bottlenecks that impede the market’s decisive role in resource allocation and facilitating the pursuit of high-quality growth, he said.
During the Third Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee from Feb 26 to 28, the CPC Central Committee adopted a decision on deepening reform of Party and State institutions.
The decision stated that deepening that reform is a profound change to promote the modernization of the system and capacity for governance of the State.
“Deepening the reform of the Party and State institutions is an inevitable requirement for strengthening the long-term governance of the Party,” Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said in an article published by People’s Daily on March 13.
The reform will cover different levels of institutions in the Party, government, people’s congress, political advisory body, judiciary, social organizations, public institutions and within military-civil integration, said Liu, who is also director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs.
“Unlike past institutional reform, which mainly was related to government institutions and administrative systems, this institutional reform will be comprehensive,” he said in the article.
Fu Yuhang, an NPC deputy from Southwest China’s Sichuan province, said it follows the historical trend for China to deepen reform because some outdated agencies should be eliminated while many others should be merged.
“For example, the people are paying more and more attention to intellectual property, so it’s a good idea to adjust this department,” she said.
A new State intellectual property bureau will be established with the integration of some departments from three institutes, according to the reform plan.
Li Jing, an NPC deputy from Central China’s Hubei province, said the reform plan should result in outstanding improvements in the efficiency of the government work and make things more convenient for the people.
“I think China’s State institutional reform is very positive. This is a sign of greater prosperity and stability for China’s economy. It certainly will contribute to the whole world’s economy,” said Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to China.
“Government reform is a momentous move for China’s internal development and global affairs,” said Nasir Mahmood, director-general of the Department of External Relations and Legal Affairs at the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization. “It improves the effectiveness of the governing bodies and allows China to adapt to changing times.”
Piriya Khempon, Thailand’s ambassador to China, said his nation pays a lot of attention to China’s institutional reforms because developments in the two countries can present opportunities to build new links.
Thai authorities, he said, will take a close look at changes such as the China National Tourism Administration being merged into the newly established Ministry of Culture and Tourism under the reform plan.
Zhang Zhihao and Cao Yin contributed to this story.