China’s institutional reform accords with evolution of its principal contradiction: official

By Huang Fahong from People’s Daily


China’s latest efforts to deepen the reform of Party and State institutions is an essential decision to uphold and strengthen overall Party leadership, which is a precondition for China to accomplish the goal of becoming a modernized country, a senior Chinese official said in a recent signed article published on People’s Daily.


An institutional arrangement to improve and ensure overall leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and to guarantee the Party’s long-term governance as well as the sustained stability of the country serves as a necessary step to uphold and strengthen overall Party leadership, added Ding Xuexiang, a member of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee.


The article was published on Monday, a day earlier when a ministerial reform plan was submitted to the ongoing first session of the 13th National People’s Congress for deliberations.


The plan to restructure the government with a major cabinet reshuffle aims at making the administration better-structured, more efficient, and service-oriented.


The reform plan says the State Council will have 26 ministries and commissions after merging, restructuring, creating and dissolving, and its ministerial-level entities will be reduced by eight and vice-ministerial-level entities will fall by seven.


Faced with the new requirements raised by the new tasks in the new era, China really needs to deal with its inadequacy in setup of Party and State institutions, allocation of their functions and their abilities to perform duties, so as to govern the state and society in a more effective way, wrote Ding, who is also director of the CPC Central Committee General Office.


It is urgent for the country to tackle these challenges in a fundamental way by deepening the reform of Party and State institutions and improving the system and mechanisms, according to the official.


A deeper institutional reform will be effective to solve existing problems faced by current Party and State institutions, according to Ding, citing the examples like overlapping duties, cross-regulation, disjunction of power and responsibilities, unscientific design in setup and function allocation of some departments, absence of supervision, unsatisfied efficiency as well as insufficient transformation of governmental functions.


It will also allow the country to deal with the unreasonable division of power and duties between central and local institutions, according to him, admitting that currently, local institutions also need to optimize the settings and power allocation to better serve the mass.


In order to modernize its system and capacity for governance, a systematic project that faces arduous challenges in the new era, China has to pursue effective governance of state and society, improve the socialist market economy, make development people-centered and uphold and strengthen overall Party leadership, said Ding, adding that these tasks make a deeper institutional reform more indispensable.


At a critical moment as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the country is placed with more arduous tasks in governance, which in turn poses new requirement for setup and duty allocation of Party and State institutions, said the article.


Taking such reality into consideration, the 19th CPC Central Committee stressed in its third plenary session to take modernization of state system and capacity for governance as the guidance when deepening reform of Party and State institutions.


It also stressed the necessity to set up Party and government institutions with integrated plans and establish a Party and State institutional function system that is well conceived, fully built, procedure based, and efficiently functioning.


To modernize its system and capacity for governance, a country must meet the new demands placed by the socialist market economy as the institutional arrangement and economic base can promote each other, Ding underscored.


In order to improve the socialist market economy, a core task will be dealing with the relationship between the government and market, while the key mission lies in transforming the functions of government, said the official, adding that the two also constitute an important job for a deeper institutional reform.


He also pointed out that while pushing for modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance, importance must be given to a people-centered philosophy of development, improvement of people’s welfare and well-rounded human development.


China is standing at a new phase during which the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved, said the official, elaborating that the needs to be met for the people to live a better life are increasingly broad.


“Not only have their material and cultural needs grown, their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are increasing,” he added.


Against such background, the deeper institutional reform is deemed as a fundamental measure to adjust to evolution of its principal contradiction, he stressed.

A screen shot of the signed article by Ding Xuexiang, published on People’s Daily on March 12.


Photo taken is a farmer in a garden for sightseeing and picking, also a project launched to lift local residents out of poverty, in Rongcheng, east China’s Shandong province. China, in recent years, have rolled off measures to build a service-oriented government by making people-centered development and transforming the functions of government. (Photo from People’s Daily Online)




Staff of a service center in Fuyang, east China’s Anhui province is helping residents with procedures, September 13, 2017. The city commits to better serving citizens by simplifying procedures, delegating power, innovating administrative management, transforming functions of government, and further stimulating market vitality. (Photo by Fan Bowen from People’s Daily)

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