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China's plan on reforming Party and state institutions -- near-full translation of official document
Central commission for finance, central commission for S&T, social work department, Hong Kong and Macao work office of the Party Central Committee, etc.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council have released a plan on reforming Party and state institutions, and issued a circular demanding the faithful implementation of the plan.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, efforts have been made to further reform Party and state institutions, leading to systemic and holistic transformations of their functions, the plan said.
However, the institutional setup and the allocation of functions of Party and state institutions are not yet fully adapted to the tasks of building China into a modern socialist country in all respects, advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts, modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, and building a high-standard socialist market economy, the plan noted, adding that further reforms and adjustments are needed.
The plan said important arrangements were made at the 20th CPC National Congress for deepening the reform of Party and state institutions, which is of far-reaching significance. Efforts are needed to deepen institutional reform in key areas and ensure that the Party's leadership over socialist modernization becomes more refined in institutional setup, more optimized in the division of functions, more improved in institutions and mechanisms, and more efficient in operation and management.
In today's piece, Ginger River Review (GRR) presents you with a near-full translation of the plan, along with highlights of the official notes by State Councilor Xiao Jie on the state institutions reform, which is also included in a GRR's previous post on the state institutions reform.
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Ⅰ Deepen the reform of the CPC Central Committee institutions
1. A central commission for finance will be established to strengthen CPC Central Committee's centralized and unified leadership over financial work. It will be responsible for top-level planning, coordination, overall advancement of financial stability and development and for supervising the work's implementation. The commission will also study and deliberate major policies and matters in the financial sector, among others.
An office of the commission will be set up. The office will be the administrative body of the central commission for finance and be part of the CPC Central Committee organizations.
The Financial Stability and Development Committee of the State Council and its administrative bodies will no longer be retained. The responsibilities of the Office of the Financial Stability and Development Committee of the State Council will be transferred to the office of the central commission for finance.
2. A working committee will be formed to strengthen the unified leadership over the Party's work in the financial sector. It will guide the political building, thought strengthening, organization consolidation, conduct improvement, and discipline maintenance of the Party in the financial system. It will serve as a dispatching agency of the CPC Central Committee and share working space with the office of the central commission for finance.
The Party building responsibilities in the financial system which formerly fell under the Central and State Organs Working Committee will be transferred to the working committee.
3. A central commission for science and technology will be set up to enhance the CPC Central Committee's centralized and unified leadership over the work of science and technology.
Its functions include pushing forward the building of a national innovation system and structural scientific and technological reform, studying and deliberating major strategies, plans and policies for the country's sci-tech development, and coordinating efforts to resolve major issues of strategic, guiding and fundamental significance in the sci-tech sector.
Serving as a decision-making and coordinating body of the CPC Central Committee, it will research and determine national strategic scientific and technological tasks and major scientific research projects, coordinate the layout of national strategic scientific and technological forces such as national laboratories, and coordinate the integrated development of military and civilian technology.
The administrative responsibilities of the central committee for science and technology will be undertaken by the reorganized Ministry of Science and Technology.
The National Science and Technology Advisory Committee will be retained to serve the major scientific and technological decision-making of the CPC Central Committee and will be responsible to and report to the Central Committee for Science and Technology.
The National Committee on Ethics in Science and Technology, an academic and professional expert committee under the leadership of the central commission for science and technology, will no longer serve as a decision-making and coordinating body of the State Council.
The leadership groups for the construction of the central national laboratories, national science and technology, institutional reform and innovation system construction, and national mid-to-long-term science and technology development plan will no longer be retained. The office of the national mid-to-long-term science and technology development plan will also be revoked.
Provincial party committees will establish their own decision-making and coordinating bodies for the field of science and technology based on local conditions.
4. A social work department of the CPC Central Committee will be formed. It will coordinate and guide the work in handling public complaints and soliciting people's opinions. It will coordinate and promote Party building to lead grassroots governance and grassroots power building, uniformly lead the Party work of national industry associations and chambers of commerce, and advance the deepening reform and transformation of these groups. The department will also be responsible for Party building work in mixed-ownership and non-public enterprises, and new types of economic and social organizations and among groups in new forms of employment.
The department will oversee the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration.
Some of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Civil Affairs will be transferred to the social work department, including guiding the construction of urban and rural community governance systems and governance capacity building, formulating social work policies, and coordinating the promotion of Party building-led grassroots governance and grassroots political power construction.
The social work department will also incorporate Party building responsibilities in national industry associations and chambers of commerce, which formerly fell under the jurisdiction of the Working Committee of the Central and State Organs and the Party Committee of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
Additionally, the responsibilities of the overall planning, coordination, guidance, and supervision of national volunteer service work under the guidance of the National Committee for the Promotion of Spiritual Civilization's office will also be transferred to the social work department.
Party committees at the provincial, municipal and county levels will set up their social work departments accordingly.
5. A Hong Kong and Macao work office of the CPC Central Committee will be formed on the basis of the existing Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. The new office will function as a working body of the CPC Central Committee. The name of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council will be retained.
It will undertake inspections of, coordinate the implementation of, and supervise the performance of the "one country, two systems" practice, the overall jurisdiction of the central government, the governance of Hong Kong and Macao in accordance with the law, the national security, the well-being of the people, and Hong Kong and Macao's integration into the overall development of the country.
Ⅱ Deepen the reform of the National People's Congress (NPC) institutions
6. A commission on work related to NPC deputies will be set up
The commission will be responsible for the allocation of NPC representative quotas, qualification review, and liaison services. It also guides and coordinates the work related to representatives' inspection tours, special research, and contact with the masses. The commission will also coordinate the management of NPC representatives' proposals, supervise and manage the performance of NPC representatives, coordinate the training of NPC representatives, provide guidance for the work of representatives of standing committees of the provincial People's Congress, and undertake specific work of the Credentials Committee of the NPC Standing Committee. The committee serves as a working committee under the NPC Standing Committee.
Ⅲ Deepen the reform of the State Council institutions
[GRR’s Note: For this section, the italicized parts (few) are new additions to the plan announced today compared to the plan announced last week. ]
7. Restructure Ministry of Science and Technology
The restructured ministry will play a bigger role in improving a new system for mobilizing the nation to make technological breakthroughs, optimizing sci-tech innovation, facilitating application of sci-tech advances, and coordinating science and technology with economic and social development.
Its macro management functions in science and technology-related strategic planning, institutional reforms, allocation of resources, comprehensive coordination, formulating policies and regulations, and supervision and inspection will also be strengthened, according to the plan.
Science and technology departments of local governments should adjust their responsibilities based on actual circumstances.
Official note: Explaining the reform plan to national lawmakers, State Councilor Xiao Jie said that facing international sci-tech competition and external containment and suppression, China needs to further smooth its leadership and management system for science and technology-related work. It will help China better allocate resources to overcome challenges in key and core technologies, and move faster toward greater self-reliance in science and technology.
To that end, a central science and technology commission will be established as part of the latest reform of the Communist Party of China and state institutions, to beef up the Party Central Committee's centralized and unified leadership over science and technology-related work. The restructured ministry will assume responsibilities as the working body of the new commission, Xiao said.
8. Set up a national financial regulatory administration
Directly under the State Council, the proposed administration will be in charge of regulating the financial industry except the securities sector. It will be established on the basis of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, which will not be retained, the plan said, noting that certain functions of the People's Bank of China and the China Securities Regulatory Commission will be transferred to the new administration.
Official note: It is an effort to ensure that all types of financial activities will be brought under supervision in accordance with the law and solve the long-standing and serious contradictions and problems in the financial sector.
9. Deepen the reform of local financial regulatory mechanism
China will develop a local financial regulatory mechanism with agencies dispatched by central financial regulators as the mainstay. The institutional structure and resources of these dispatched agencies will be optimized in a coordinated manner, the plan noted.
Official note: The aim is to strengthen the central authority in financial management to address issues such as the lack of regulatory tools and professional talents in local financial regulatory agencies.
10. China Securities Regulatory Commission to be a government agency directly under the State Council
The China Securities Regulatory Commission will become a government agency, rather than a public institution.
Official note: It is an effort to strengthen regulatory responsibilities for the capital market.
11. Advance reform of the branches of the People's Bank of China
China will advance reform of the branches of the People's Bank of China, the central bank. The regional branches and business management departments of the People's Bank of China, as well as the business management departments directly under the headquarters and the central branches in provincial capitals will be revoked.
Instead, the central bank will establish provincial-level branches in 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, in addition to branches in cities specially designated in the state plan, including Shenzhen, Dalian, Ningbo, Qingdao, and Xiamen. The People's Bank of China Beijing Branch will retain the brand of the People's Bank of China Business Management Department, while the People's Bank of China Shanghai Branch will share an office with the People's Bank of China Shanghai Headquarters.
Official note: The People's Bank of China will no longer maintain its county-level branches and will instead transfer their functions to the central branches at the city level. For areas that have a large amount of foreign trade or border settlements, the central branches can dispatch institutions to fulfill their management and service functions according to situations.
12. Improve the regulatory mechanism on state-owned financial capital
Market-oriented institutions managed by central financial regulatory departments shall be removed out of their control in accordance with relevant management regulations for state-owned financial capital contributors. Relevant state-owned financial assets will be transferred to management institutions entrusted with state-owned financial capital, which shall perform investor responsibilities in a unified manner based on authorization from the State Council.
Official note: The decision was made to clarify the rights and responsibilities of financial regulatory authorities, institutions responsible for investing state-owned financial capital, and state-owned financial institutions, promote the separation of regulatory from operational functions and the separation of government from enterprises, and promote the sustainable and healthy development of state-owned financial institutions.
13. Unify and standardize the management of the staff of financial regulators
The People's Bank of China, the State Financial Regulatory Administration, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and its branches and dispatching agencies will be all in administrative establishments. The staff members are under the unified and standardized management of the state civil service and are treated according to the salary standard for state civil servants.
Official note: It is an effort to promote financial regulators to perform their duties in accordance with the law and to solve the problems of unification and standardization in the financial system team management.
14. Establish a national data bureau
The proposed bureau, to be administered by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), will be responsible for advancing the development of data-related fundamental institutions, coordinating the integration, sharing, development and application of data resources, and pushing forward the planning and building of a Digital China, the digital economy and a digital society, among others. [GRR’s note: see an article that explains What does the newly-established National Data Bureau mean, for you?]
Certain functions of the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the NDRC will be transferred to the new bureau, said the plan.
Data management institutions of provincial governments should be established on the basis of actual circumstances.
Official note: Digital resources and the digital economy play a fundamental role in the economic and social development of modern society. They are of significant importance for constructing new development patterns, building modern economic systems, and establishing new competitive advantages for the country.
It is necessary to strengthen the management, development, and utilization of data. While maintaining the overall stability of the current work patterns such as data security, industry data supervision, information technology development, and digital government construction, the responsibilities for integrating, sharing, developing, and utilizing data resources should be relatively centralized.
15. Improve the functions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
To comprehensively promote issues relating to agriculture, rural areas and farmers with a focus on rural revitalization and accelerate the construction of an agricultural powerhouse, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will take over the responsibilities that formerly fell under the National Rural Revitalization Bureau: carrying out monitoring and assistance to prevent poverty relapse, formulate key support policies for revitalizing priority counties and key areas, organize east-west region cooperation, pair-up support, and social assistance, research and propose a central fiscal plan for promoting rural revitalization-related fund allocation, and guide and supervise the use of funds to promote the development of rural support industries, rural social undertakings, and public services.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will add the brand of the National Rural Revitalization Administration.
During the transitional period after the completion of the national poverty alleviation task, relevant support policies, financial support, and project arrangements will remain generally stable, and the operation and management of funds and projects will be relatively independent.
The National Rural Revitalization Administration will no longer exist as a separate agency.
The department of agriculture and rural affairs at the provincial, municipal, and county levels will take over the responsibilities that formerly fell under the rural revitalization institution at the same level.
16. Improve the elderly-care work mechanism
The National Health Commission's responsibilities of organizing, formulating and coordinating the policies and measures to cope with the aging population and undertaking the detailed tasks of the China National Committee on Ageing will be transferred to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The office of the China National Committee on Ageing will be located at the Ministry of Civil Affairs to strengthen its responsibilities of coordinating, guiding, and promoting the development of the cause for the aged.
China National Committee on Ageing will be managed by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Official note: It is an effort to implement the proactive national strategy in response to population aging and to expand the basic elderly-care services to cover all senior citizens.
17. Improve the management mechanism for intellectual property rights (IPR)
China will improve the management mechanism for intellectual property rights (IPR) to upgrade IPR creation, application, protection and management. The China National Intellectual Property Administration, currently administered by the State Administration for Market Regulation, will be adjusted into an institution directly under the State Council.
Official note: The move is aimed at adapting to the goal of building a country of innovation, promoting high-quality development and expanding high-standard opening up, accelerating the development of intellectual property rights (IPR) power and comprehensively improving the capacity of intellectual property creation, application, protection, management and services.
Ⅳ Deepen the reform of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee institutions
18. Optimize the makeup of the CPPCC National Committee's sectors
A new sector -- the environment and resources sector -- is added to the CPPCC National Committee [See GRR's Explainer | What's CPPCC groups/sectors, or Jiebie? and introduction about the newly added group]. Two groups of the CPPCC National Committee, "the Communist Youth League of China" and "the All-China Youth Federation" are integrated as a new sector named "the Communist Youth League of China & the All-China Youth Federation". The composition of "the specially invited figures" group is optimized.
Ⅴ Optimize the allocation of staffing resources for Party and state institutions
19. Downsize the staff of the central Party and state institutions.
The central Party and state institutions will downsize their staff by 5 percent. Most of the retrieved staff resources will be invested in key areas and major projects. The dispatched agency directly managed by the central authority and institutions abroad are not on the uniform reduction list, and they should make good use of the existing staffing resource according to industry and system realities.
Staffing resource reduction at local Party and state institutions is left to the discretion of provincial-level Party committees in light of situations on the ground. Staffing resource reduction is not required at the county and township levels.
Under the leadership of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform will coordinate the implementation of the reform on Party and state institutions. The reform of local institutions is under the unified leadership of the provincial Party Committee and the reform plan should be reported to the CPC Central Committee for the record. Central authorities are expected to complete the reform by the end of 2023 while localities are expected to complete the reform by the end of 2024. The progress of the institution reform and major problems encountered should be reported in time to the CPC Central Committee for instructions.
A review of the past eight reforms of Party and state institutions
[Please note that this review was written by GRR, a personal newsletter, using information from public sources, and that it does not represent anybody else. Errors could happen. Feel free to let me know if you spot any: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
1. 1982-1984: Streamlining institutions
In order to effectively address the problems of bloated government institutions, unclear departmental responsibilities, redundant personnel, high administrative costs, and low institutional efficiency brought about by a highly centralized planned economic system, China launched its first institutional reform in 1982, after reform and opening-up.
Through this institutional reform, the government institutions have undergone significant streamlining, with the number of departments, affiliated institutions, and offices directly under the State Council reduced from 100 to 61.
This round of institutional reform has made great breakthroughs in streamlining organizations and personnel, abolishing the system of life tenure for leading posts, speeding up to reduce the average age of the cadre team, and solving the problem of the transition between old and new leadership.
2. Start in 1988: Transformation of government functions
With the development of socialist market economy, the state began to attach importance to the transformation of government functions. The institutional reform launched in 1988 emphasized serving the development of productive forces, improving economic efficiency, and revitalizing enterprises. The key focus of the reform was to transform government functions, streamline organizations, reduce personnel, and separate government from enterprise, thereby transferring the rights of production and operation to enterprises.
In this round of reform, the idea of transforming government functions was put forward for the first time and attention was paid to straightening out the relationship between the Party and the government, as well as the relationship between the government and enterprises.
After the reform, the number of departments under the State Council was reduced from 45 to 41, the number of directly affiliated agencies was reduced from 22 to 19, and the number of non-permanent agencies was reduced from 75 to 44. The staffing of these organizations declined by more than 9,700 people compared to before.
3. 1993-1995: Adapting to the development of socialist market economy
After China had set the goal of reforming the socialist market economy system and in order to eliminate many aspects of the state administrative management system that are not compatible with the socialist market economy system, the first session of the 8th National People's Congress passed the "Decision on the Plan for the Reform of the State Council Institutions" on March 22, 1993.
After this institutional reform, the number of directly affiliated and service agencies of the State Council was reduced by 27, leaving a total of 59.
The administrative staffing was reduced by 20 percent after the institutional reform, leaving 29,200 positions.
This institutional reform has provided a clearer definition of the government's role, which means to "separate government from enterprises, exercise macro control, and let the market play a decisive role in micro-level economic activities."
4. 1998-2002: Preliminary exploration of building a service-oriented government
To meet the needs of the development of the socialist market economy and effectively transform the functions of the government, on Mar. 10, 1998, the first session of the 9th National People's Congress deliberated and passed the "Plan on the Reform of the State Council Institutions", which marked the largest government institutional reform since the founding of PRC.
The plan clearly stated that the goal of this reform was to "establish a government administrative management system that is efficient, coordinated, and operates in accordance with norms, improve the national civil service system, build a high-quality professional administrative team, and gradually establish a government administrative system with Chinese characteristics adapted to the socialist market economic system."
Subsequently, organizational reforms were launched one after another among various departments of the CPC Central Committee, as well as other state organs and mass organizations.
Through this reform, the number of departments under the State Council has been reduced by 11, leaving 29; the staffing and cadre of government agencies have decreased by nearly half, leaving 16,700.
5. 2003: Adapting to the development of socialist market economy
As reforms deepened after China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), the socialist market economy was faced with new situations. In order to adapt government agencies and administrative systems to the new stage, the second plenary session of the 16th Central Committee of the CPC approved the "Proposal on Deepening Reform of Administrative and Institutional Restructuring" in November 2002.
On Mar. 10, 2003, the third plenary session of the 10th National People's Congress passed a reform plan for the State Council's institutions. The plan focused on deepening the reform of the state-owned asset management system, improving the macro-control system, improving the financial regulatory system, promoting the reform of the circulation management system, and strengthening the food safety and safety production supervision system. This plan embodied the concept of a service-oriented government that stipulates "separate government from enterprises, exercise macro control, and let the market play a decisive role in micro-level economic activities.", which was in line with the need to develop the socialist market economy.
6. 2008: Launching a "super-department" reform (SDR) with a service-oriented government at its core
To further adapt to the needs of economic and social development, the 17th National Congress of the CPC articulated the plan to accelerate the reform of the administrative management system and to build a service-oriented government. In early 2008, the State Council formulated a new institutional reform plan. On Mar. 15, the First Session of the 7th National People's Congress approved the "Decision on the Reform of Government Institutions." According to this plan, the overall goal of this institutional reform was to "establish a sound system of administrative management with Chinese characteristics by 2020."
The main task of the reform was to explore a "super-department" system via transforming government functions and straightening out the relations of responsibilities of different departments, in order to appropriately allocate macro-control department functions. This institutional reform involved 15 institutions. After the reform, the State Council had 27 departments, except for the State Council General Office, and local government institutions at all levels also underwent corresponding adjustments.
The 2008 reform put forward the concept of a "super-department system" for the first time, integrated many departments with overlapping functions, and made significant explorations in improving the efficiency of administrative institutions. It upheld the "people-oriented" principle and led the reform of government institutions closer to the goal of a service-oriented government.
7. 2013: Steadily establishing larger government departments that integrate the functions smaller ones have performed
The 18th National Congress of the CPC articulated a deeper reform of the administrative system, which was to build a well-structured, clean, efficient and service-oriented government that has scientifically defined functions and that the people are satisfied with. The goal was to ensure that the government was functionally capable of "allowing the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation".
In 2013, the second plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee approved the "State Council Plan for Institutional Reform and Functional Transformation", which aimed to 1) steadily promote the "super-department" reform, with the transformation of government functions as the core; 2) resolve issues such as overlapping agencies and functions; 3) reduce and standardize administrative approval procedures, simplify procedures, and improve administrative efficiency; 4) improve the institutional base for "super-departments". After the 2013 reform, the number of State Council departments was reduced to 25, and departments such as the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Health ceased to exist.
The 2013 institutional reform rationalized the relationship between the government and the market, effectively contributed to the transformation from a "management-oriented government" to a "service-oriented government", and laid an organizational foundation for deepening reforms in various fields.
8. 2018: Improving the comprehensive leadership of the CPC, and coordinating the reform of the party and government institutions
In the face of new situations and tasks in the new era, on Feb. 28, 2018, the Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee approved the "Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Deepening the Reform of Party and State Institutions" and the "Plan for Deepening the Reform of Party and State Institutions". Compared with past institutional reforms focused on the administrative system, the 2018 reform based itself on the general economic and social picture, coordinated the reform of party, government, military and public institutions, and highlighted the core leadership of the CPC.
The Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee articulated that "the primary task of deepening reform of the Party and state institutions is to improve the system for upholding overall Party leadership in a bid to strengthen the CPC’s leadership in every sector, ensure its all-encompassing coverage and make it more forceful."
To ensure that the CPC's organizations can uphold the core leadership of the Party, the "Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Deepening the Reform of Party and State Institutions" proposed to establish and improve the institutions and mechanisms by which the Party exercises leadership over major tasks, enhance the status of leadership of Party organizations among organizations of the same level, give better play to the role of the Party's functionary departments, set up Party and government institutions with integrated plans (It is advisable to merge Party and government institutions with similar functions and close ties, or make them work in one office, in order to integrate and optimize resources and efficiency), and advance reform of the Party's disciplinary inspection and the country's supervisory systems.
On Mar. 13, 2018, the State Council announced the institutional reform plan, launching a new round of "super-department" reform. According to the plan, after the reform, the number of the State Council's departments would be reduced by 8 at the ministerial level and 7 at the deputy ministerial level. In addition to the General Office of the State Council, there were to be 26 departments, 1 directly affiliated special institution, 10 directly affiliated institutions, and 2 administrative agencies.
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