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Full transcript of policy briefing of the State Council on Feb 6, 2015

Updated: Feb 6,2015 5:38 PM

The weekly State Council policy briefing held on Feb 6 focused on the latest developments of China’s new rural cooperative medical scheme and the latest State Council executive meetings.[Photo/SCIO]

Hu Kaihong (host):

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the press, good morning. Welcome to today’s policy briefing. To help you better understand the key policies of the Chinese government, today’s policy briefing will be divided into two parts. First, we will have Mr Ma Xiaowei, vice-minister of the National Health and Family Commission, to brief you on the latest developments on China’s new rural cooperative medical scheme. And then we will invite two ministers to brief you about the latest State Council executive meetings. Mr Wang Xiaotao, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission will talk about the “Going Global” process for equipment and production; and Mr Cao Jianlin, vice-minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, will talk about policies on promoting “Mass Maker Space” and encouraging mass innovation. They will answer questions later.

Ok, Let’s give the floor to Mr Ma.

Ma Xiaowei:

Good morning, friends from the media. I am glad to be here today and I would like to say thank you for your consistent support for our work.

The New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme has provided basic medical insurance for farmers, who account for two thirds of the population. In the past ten years, the program has progressed smoothly.

In 2014, membership of the NRCMS stayed above 95 per cent. Subsidies from local governments rose to 320 yuan per person, and the level of individual payments went up as well so that farmers can now get 75 per cent of their hospitalization expenses reimbursed and 50 per cent of their outpatient service costs can be covered.

Insurance covering serious illnesses has grown rapidly and by the end of November the serious illness insurance program covered 219 cities. The fund for treating serious illnesses totals 9.7 billion yuan and benefits 1.15 million people, while actual compensation has gone up approximately 12 percentage points, on top of the basic compensation rate for the new rural cooperative medical program.

The sharing of data and information for the NRCMS has seen a marked improvement, with long-distance medical settlements for farmers in the rural cooperative medical insurance program completed quickly in most parts of the country. There has been optimal use of the program’s national information site which is connected to nine provincial sites and large medical institutions at provincial level, paving the way for work on trans-provincial medical cost settlements, which is already in place in some areas.

The following are our key tasks in 2015:

First, we will keep on improving government financing for the program, with annual government subsidies expected to be raised to 380 yuan per person, with individual payments expected to rise accordingly.

Second, we will increase the reimbursement rate for outpatient services to 50 percent and hospitalization costs to 75 percent and more will be done to narrow the gap between policy-cover and actual reimbursement.

Third, we will summarize and publicize the best experiences of the payment system for the NRCMS and contribute to the reform of county-level hospitals overall.

Fourth, we will expand critical illness coverage to more illnesses and improve the reimbursements for patients.

And, finally, we will push forward with instant settlements for long-distance medical treatment within provinces and conduct pilot work on trans-provincial medical expense verification and settlements.

That concludes my introduction of the NRCMS and I am ready to answer your questions.

Hu Kaihong (host):

Thank you Mr Ma and now questions.

China National Radio:

Just now Mr Ma mentioned about the insurance work covering serious illnesses under the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme. Everyone cares a great deal about this program. What will the National Health and Family Planning Commission do to further promote the program?

Ma Xiaowei:

The insurance work covering serious illness is a policy the government issued in recent years to help ease the financial burden on patients suffering serious and complicated health issues that are hard to treat, especially for those who have difficulty paying medical bills.

The basic medical insurance, the insurance covering serious illness, the emergency aid system for illness, and the medical aid provided by the civil affairs authorities comprise the government-led system that guarantees basic support for people to pay their medical bills.

The insurance program covering serious illness was introduced in recent years. The National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance recently issued a circular asking local authorities to improve the NRCMS in 2015. The circular said four things about the work to improve the insurance program covering serious illness.

First, more regions should join the program. Currently, 219 regions have joined the insurance program covering serious illness, but it’s not enough considering the whole country. We must try to expand the program to all the provinces and cities within two or three years.

Second, we need to enhance the standard of how much money should be paid. We will carry out more scientific calculations to determine how much money should be set aside from the NRCMS, based on the statistics gathered from the catalog of basic and reimbursable medicines and medical services and the distribution of the population that pays a large amount of money for medical services. We will increase duly the proportion of money set aside from the NRCMS.

Third, we should encourage insurance companies in various regions to take part in the insurance program covering serious illness.

Introducing insurance companies into the program plays a very important role in controlling spending, encouraging reasonable medical consumption, increasing work efficiency and straightening out the process of paying for serious illness with the NRCMS.

In other words, it is an important method to let insurance companies run the program, so that the government will only supervise the program.

Ma Xiaowei:

Fourth, we should notice the financial risks that come along, and how to control the problem of overdrafts. As a result, we should strictly supervise hospitals. We are prepared to take measures in three aspects.

First, we will push the reform of how medical insurance programs pay medical bills. In other words, we should change from paying for a single medical service into paying for all the medical services afforded to treat a kind of disease. We should promote a diagnosis-related group system, and set up different price standards for medical services offered to patients with different diseases, from diagnosis to treatment.

Second, we will strictly assess medical costs by hospitals, including cost per capita, costs for outpatient treatment and costs for inpatient treatment. We should also strictly review and assess doctors’ prescriptions.

Third, we will consider setting up a system to control the medical costs for treating serious illnesses, making a national blacklist of public hospitals that issue unreasonable prescriptions or offer unreasonable medical services and holding them accountable.

These are the four things we are considering about the insurance program covering serious illnesses. Simply put, one is expanding the program to more regions, one is enhancing the payment standard, one is encouraging market forces and one is strictly controlling spending.

Jian Kang Bao:

Mr Ma, as we all know, the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme is an important safety net in China. People we have interviewed refer to it as “life-saving money’’. Mobility has increased in society due, in part, to a rising number of migrant workers. Therefore many people are paying a great deal of attention to the long-distance settling of medical bills. Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Finance, and the National Health and Family Planning Commission jointly issued a document on settling medical bills in areas other than home areas. So Mr Ma, how is this progressing, and what will be done next?

Ma Xiaowei:

Recently, the departments you mentioned did issue such a document. To solve the problem requires time. Not only for the NRCMS, medical insurance for urban workers also faces the same problem. In a large country like China, there are huge imbalances like in economic development, medical treatment, and financing medical insurance. In such circumstances, we need time to solve the problem of trans-provincial and trans-regional medical cost settlements.

The work we have done in this area are is as follows.

First, promote the gathering of data and information for the NRCMS. A platform has already been established to share data and information. The program’s national information site is connected to nine provincial sites, paving the way technically for work on long-distance medical cost settlements.

Second, accelerate and promote long-distance medical cost settlements for the NRCMS. Currently, over 88 percent of the country have successfully had long-distance medical cost settlements. In other words, the majority of the country can utilize it within their provinces. Some areas are actively exploring trans-provincial medical cost settlements, which is quite difficult.

For example, there are 58 county-level NRCMS institutions in Jiangsu, Shandong, Henan, and Anhui provinces that have signed service agreements with 12 medical institutions in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province. Less well-off people in these provinces can get almost instant settlements if they seek treatment in these medical institutions.

Also, Anhui and Sichuan provinces have designated hospitals in areas like Beijing and Shanghai — where there are a large number of migrant workers from the two provinces. These workers can also get long-distance reimbursements in the designated hospitals.

However, long-distance reimbursement for migrant workers, and the reimbursement for retired workers and those who changed their jobs in cities remain problems facing us in the future.

Ma Xiaowei:

Thirdly, solve the problem of medical insurance transfer for migrant populations. Recently, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued a document on NRCMS trans-provincial medical cost settlement — planning to select some pilot areas and designated hospitals, and rely on the national information platform.

Our next plan includes three aspects. First is to further improve the information web platform — to achieve trans-provincial collection and two-way delivering of information. Second is to improve the collection and exchange mechanism of trans-provincial medical cost information; and encourage buying services from commercial insurance institutions to carry out verification. Third is to unify subsidy policies for medical treatment outside the home provinces. We need to regulate the workflow and reimbursement procedures for trans-provincial medical treatment.

Hu Kaihong (host):

Ok, that is the end of the first part and we will move on to the second part. Now, let’s give the floor to Mr Wang.

Wang Xiaotao:

Ladies, gentlemen and friends from the media. Good morning. I am very glad to attend today’s media briefing. I would like to brief you on the “Going Global” process for equipment and production discussed and outlined by a recent State Council Executive Meeting.

The State Council Executive Meeting on Jan 28 discussed and outlined strategies to accelerate the “Going Global” process of Chinese-made equipment and enhance international cooperation in production.

It was agreed that by meeting the demands of the international market, adopting a commercial mode which was led by enterprises and facilitated by the government, promoting the “Going Global” process of China’s industrial equipment and international cooperation will lead to a mutually beneficial and win-win result for both China and its partners.

It is a great opportunity for China to expand international cooperation on investment and trade, to cultivate new growth engines for international trade as well as to upgrade domestic industries. According to the meeting, the following tasks will be high on the agenda.

First, to promote the “Going Global” process of railways and nuclear power. We will actively explore key international markets for large-scale products and equipment, including railways and nuclear power, integrate industrial resources, innovate overseas cooperation models, and provide comprehensive services to countries that are in need, and develop a third-party market through international cooperation.

Second, to support the “Going Global” process of other equipment. We will push forward the exports of complete equipment sets, including for the telecommunication and power sector, through overseas contacts and investments. We support enterprises to improve their transnational operation capabilities through mergers and acquisitions, and setting up research centers abroad.

Third, to develop international cooperation in production. We will support businesses, based on the international market’s needs, to build both upstream and downstream production lines in key areas, including iron, steel and textiles, and to realize the “Going Global” of products, technology and qualified standards.

Fourth, to optimize related policies. We will fully utilize current policies and support a series of major projects from a long-term point of view. We will stick to market-oriented principles, expand the channels of foreign exchange reserves, support enterprises to raise money by issuing stocks and bonds at home and abroad, and to use policy-oriented financial tools to offer reasonable financing assistance to the “Going Global” process of major equipment and competitive production.

Fifth, to prevent risks. We will strengthen supervision of overseas investment, regulate enterprises’ operations, and ban competition where firms undermine each other. We will set up or optimize mechanisms for risk evaluation and emergency responses, enhance risk prevention and control in a bid to ensure the safety of Chinese enterprises and citizens abroad.

Here, I would like to especially stress that whether it is the “Going Global” process for Chinese equipment or international cooperation in production, we always adhere to the basic principles of mutual benefit and win-win development. While expanding development during the “Going Global” process, Chinese enterprises will take related countries’ actual needs for economic and industrial development into full consideration, focus on improving these countries’ capability of production, create jobs, improve their supply of products, and promote their long-term and sustainable development. From a larger point of view, Chinese enterprises’ “Going Global” process will also make contribution to the world’s economic development.

That concludes my introduction. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong (host):

Thank you Director Wang and now let’s invite Minister Cao to brief you on “Mass Maker Space”.

Cao Jianlin:

Good morning, friends from the media and welcome to today’s media briefing. On Jan 28, the State Council held an Executive Meeting and decided to support the development of room for mass entrepreneurship and innovation, or “Mass Maker Space’’, to establish a new platform for entrepreneurship and innovation. Please allow me to introduce the concept of “Mass Maker Space” and advancing public innovation and entrepreneurship.

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council prioritize mass innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2014, the Central Economic Work Conference underscored that mass entrepreneurship and innovation are expected to forge new impetus for development.

When addressing the Summer Davos in 2014, Premier Li Keqiang proposed to utilize the momentum brought by reforms and innovation and realize a new boom of mass entrepreneurship and grassroots entrepreneurship. The Premier then issued several important instructions in this regard and he suggested taking this as a new engine for economic growth in the context of the new normal.

In recent years, along with the comprehensive deepening of reforms and the continuing expansion of opening up, infrastructure facilities and market environment for nurturing entrepreneurship have witnessed remarkable improvement. By the end of year 2014, the number of technology-based business incubators exceeded 1,600. There were more than 80,000 companies in these incubators, providing around 1.75 million job opportunities. There were 115 national high-tech industrial zones, in which more than 500,000 companies had registered. In Zhongguancun Science Park, more than 13,000 technology-based companies registered in 2014 alone. There were around 1,000 active venture capital companies in China, with a total capital of more than 350 billion yuan. Nearly 300,000 items were transferred in the technology market across China, and the overall technology transaction volume reached 857.7 billion yuan in 2014. Internet users have exceeded 630 million nationwide, with close to 50 percent of households having obtained broadband Internet access. The environment for business startups has been improving rapidly, which has led to rising efficiency and expansion of public entrepreneurship. New features of the mass entrepreneurship and grassroots business startups may be summarized as follows:

First, from government-leading to market-driven entrepreneur services. The development of modern market systems gave birth to a large number of market-driven and specialized new entrepreneurship incubators.

Second, entrepreneurs expand from specialists to the public, with more people at grassroots level starting businesses.

Third, entrepreneurial activities have expanded from within an organization to open collaboration. Innovation is no longer a mission undertaken by a single company but is increasingly a case of mutual assistance among various counterparts.

Fourth, entrepreneurial ideas have shifted from dependence on technology supplies to meeting demand. Customization has made a new starting point for innovation and entrepreneurship.

In summary, China’s environment for nurturing entrepreneurship has been consistently improving. But our research and surveys have also found that there are more expectations among startup entrepreneurs. They have been expecting lower costs for starting businesses, greater facilitation in industrial and commercial registration procedures, smoother functioning of investment and financing architecture, and more favorable policies offered by the government for startup businesses.

To address the needs, the State Council Executive Meeting has proposed:

— to energetically develop the “Mass Maker Space’’, for a high degree of marketization, professional approach, integration and networking;

— to achieve a combination of online and offline operations and of incubation and investment;

— to provide open, comprehensive entrepreneurship servicing platforms that offer low cost, facilitation and a range of necessary requirements.

The meeting agreed on a number of decisions. First, to expand policy support and lower the cost for starting businesses.

Second, to work on the enhancing of investing and financing architectures intended for entrepreneurship, and to address financing challenges of small- and medium-scale enterprises. Third, to forge an enabling cultural climate for innovation and entrepreneurship and shape a favoring market ecology and environment for entrepreneurship. Developing “Mass Maker Space’’ does not mean massive construction of buildings. It requires research first on incubating models. The guide provided by the government and market should be adhered to, and favorable conditions — including high-tech industrial zones supported by the country, universities and academies — should be utilized. More optimization should be introduced toward the existing entrepreneurship service organizations for updating their service models and operating architecture. The collaboration among the preferential policies should be boosted to improve the systematic efficiency and build user-friendly incubating platforms.

That concludes my briefing. Any questions are welcome. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong (host):

Thank you Minister Cao and it’s time for questions.

ITAR-TASS News Agency:

You just mentioned China’s total value of exports, what is the amount of Chinese exports to Russia? Regarding China-Russia cooperation on railways, have Beijing and Moscow made any progress in this area?

Wang Xiaotao:

China’s equipment manufacturing industry recorded exports worth 2.1 trillion yuan in 2014, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s total exports. The industry includes the power, telecommunication, petrochemicals, mining and aviation sectors. Large-scale equipment saw a rapid increase in exports. As many people may know, China mainly exports 600,000-kW coal-fired power generation units. About 68 percent of telecom network and services provider Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s sales revenues came from overseas markets, and CNR Corp signed a contract to sell 284 subway vehicles to the US city of Boston. Meanwhile, China’s construction machinery and auto manufacturers, among others, made steady headway in overseas investments. For example, Chinese carmaker Geely acquired Swedish carmaker Volvo and helped the latter increase sales and profits substantially. Geely also helped the Swedish carmaker establish car and engine factories as well as research and development centers.

China and Russia are stepping up cooperation on railways and other areas. We also noted that Russia needs to build a number of high-speed railways and upgrade many of its railways. The two countries are pushing forward cooperation in this area.

China Daily:

High-speed rail exports are a special issue of popular concern. I saw the figures provided said that last year railway equipment exports accounted for 10 percent of global market share, which was less than expected. Major destinations of the exports included Asia, Latin America and Africa. In interviews analysts have said that China’s rail equipment has not yet entered the market in Europe. So I want to ask you what is the next step to better tap into the international market? You mentioned nuclear power, and the day before yesterday China and Argentina signed an agreement on the ACP1000 export to Argentina. How will China’s export of nuclear power facilities develop?

Wang Xiaotao:

As for background materials provided to you all, when it comes to railway equipment, it said such products have been exported to more than 80 countries. Last year the total export volume registered $4 billion, 10 percent of total global market share. You may take such a percentage as a little lower than expectations. The thing is most of us have enjoyed high-speed rail in China, and I believe everyone of us has been impressed by the comfortable environment provided and its reliable operation. But Chinese high-speed rail’s “Going Global’’ strategy has just started, and the cooperative agenda with railway authorities of other countries, including those for high-speed rail, is still progressing. With the passage of time, the successful results will unfold in an incremental approach, so a feeling of disappointment about 10 percent is normal.

At the same time, we should see that right now the global era is witnessing booms in infrastructure construction, and rail construction has served as an important way for many countries to strengthen economic development, poverty reduction and people’s living standards. That is the case for not only developing countries but also a range of developed nations. Such a phenomena also signifies an important opportunity for Chinese rail to better undertake its “Going Global’’ strategy.

Wang Xiaotao:

As for the next step to promote rail’s “Going Global” strategy, our plans may be summarized as follows.

First, we should adhere to the philosophy of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, as well as the belief in common development. Rail’s “Going Global” strategy is expected to boost exports of China’s design consultancy services as well as construction and operational teams.

More attention should be paid on cooperation with local governments and enterprises overseas through joint ventures over plants and the localization of operation capabilities. We should deeper involve local enterprises to realize mutual benefit, win-win cooperation and common development. Our task is not only to promote the internationalization of China’s railway standards, but also to give full consideration to the host country’s economic situation, pragmatic demands, the actual situation and technical standards. We should stand on our own, actively explore the international market, and consider forging consortia with the countries concerned to jointly participate in foreign railway projects. This will also help us learn from the transnational operating experience and improve our capability to participate in market competition.

Second, the leading paradigm is that the government guides the enterprises. The governing bodies and enterprises are expected to act in accordance with the principle of commercialization and their own development needs, take part in railway cooperation overseas, abide by the laws and regulations, respect local customs, place priority upon fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities, and integrate into local society in a proactive manner.

Third, we must diversify cooperation patterns. We should maintain our traditional strengths and industries. We have been carrying out railway engineering consultation, construction, equipment supply and general contracting. In addition, we should also encourage our enterprises to work with counterparts abroad and jointly explore various PPP (Private Public Partnership) investment modes in order to increase diversity of cooperation.

Wang Xiaotao:

When it comes to international cooperation on nuclear power, the reporters saw a few days ago that China and Argentina signed an agreement about a 750,000 kW heavy water reactor. The technology of heavy water reactors was first introduced from Canada. As we embarked on digesting and absorbing such technology, we have made progress on our own and our products are competitive enough to go global. As far as I know, it is the first case involving exporting a heavy water reactor from China. In fact, it has not been too long time since we introduced such kinds of technology from abroad. Such a process illustrates that as reform and opening up proceeds in China, large-scale manufacturing is indeed pioneering or joining the top rank in many areas in the global arena, and we do have the technical capacity. Besides, nuclear cooperation between China and Pakistan has witnessed six reactors from China, and the total installed capacity is 3,400,000 kilowatts. At the same time we have also held initial discussions with many other countries.

The priority missions for China’s nuclear power sector may be summarized as follows. First, to better integrate quality manufacturers within the country and fast-track innovation in the paradigms of international cooperation.

Second, to accelerate relevant project construction within the country and boost the maturity and competitiveness of our nuclear power equipment and products. Third, to explore major markets, act upon the agreements signed between governments or between departments, strengthen reconciliation with priority destinations and create enabling conditions for our enterprises to tap into the market.

The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones:

Vice-Chairman Wang just mentioned that China will use part of its foreign exchange reserves to help some enterprises’ “Going Global” strategies. Can you further explain to us how much money will be used and in what way will the money be used? For example, by loans or by shares. In addition, you mentioned railway equipment, there is a problem there in Mexico. Can you please tell us how will the dispute be dealt with?

Wang Xiaotao:

As we all know, China has a large amount of foreign exchange reserves. We will use this advantage to help our enterprises expand their sales globally. Personally, I think there is plenty of room to do so. As for the amount, however, it is hard to collect the data and even harder to tell, as it is changing from time to time.

Well, it is a pity about the railway project in Mexico. Nevertheless, reporter friends may also know that a big investment even in China has risks. For example, the technology risk and the economic risk. When “Going Global”, enterprises will have to face risks such as policy instability and political changes, which are typical in foreign investment. More often than not, these risks are hard to predict. Having invested a lot of manpower and financial resources in the project, we regret to see the project postponed indefinitely. We hope the government of Mexico will properly handle the follow-up problems caused by the postponement and make concrete efforts to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises. I still believe that China’s high-speed railway has its strengths. There is no other country in the world that has such a big network and system of high-speed trains. Everyone says that practice is the sole criterion for testing truth. So, you will know if you come to China and try the high-speed train.

First of all, the integrated (railway) system is one of our big advantages. Second, we have our own strengths when it comes to cost, construction time and quality. Sometimes, it only costs two-thirds if you choose us. This is a strong advantage. Third, we have various standards for production capacity through learning and innovation. It is more difficult for other countries to compete with us at present. In addition, we have also gathered useful experience in high-speed trains running in a variety of complex weather conditions. As you know, China has a very complex climate, topography and environment due to its large size. This is another advantage of ours. Thus, if you see in the long term, China’s high-speed railway has a bright future in “Going Global”.

The Economic Daily:

I have questions for vice-minister Cao. Would you like to give us a detailed introduction about the measures to be taken for boosting the development of “Mass Maker Space”. Would you elaborate on how to better tap into a leading role in the market, and how to better coordinate the relationship between the government and the market? Thank you.

Cao Jianlin:

Thanks for your questions. The detailed measures for boosting “Mass Maker Space’’ may be summarized as follows.

First, the development of “Mass Maker Space’’ has enjoyed a solid foundation in China now. We already have a range of policy supports in place, such as those supporting high-tech and cutting-edge technology enterprises, as well as policies facilitating small-and medium-scale enterprises.

Second, different places take different measures in the sector. According to the figures we provided earlier, there are 115 national high-tech industrial zones, and there are more national level zones under construction. In these zones, there are a remarkable number of incubators. Some of them are funded by local governments and some are by the enterprises. The options offered by the incubators include providing spaces of 50 m² to 100 m², and can be rent-free for up to three years. The broadband Internet access may be toll-free for three years, and can be toll-free forever as long as you stay contracted. The incubators may provide equipment for manufacturing and services for seeking specialists. The tangible measures also include some in the financial area. Financial support, manufacturing facilities, as well as experts might be provided by some localities. The financial support will be open to local projects as well as international ones. In all, we provide concrete assistance ranging from attracting expertise, offering space for work, providing platforms for sharing information, providing equipment, to helping them explore market.

You asked about how to better tap into the role of the market. In essence, mass innovation and entrepreneurship are natural, therefore, their developing relies on the leading role of the market. So what should the government do? First, the government should offer guidance and support. Second, the government should build some platforms, such as the workspace, Internet space and communicating spaces. The government plays the role as an organizer, an usher and a supporter, and it is the market that plays the leading role.

Die Welt:

You just mentioned nuclear power projects, which we know is a very sensitive issue abroad. There may be safety concerns related to such projects. How do you ensure safety when exporting nuclear power technology and equipment?

Wang Xiaotao:

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety of its nuclear power. We have paid a great deal of attention to safety after the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan. We have also conducted very strict inspections on the approved equipment that is under construction or operation. In conclusion, the development of nuclear power must be carried out as long as safety is ensured.

So we have to make sure of the safety of domestic nuclear power projects before promoting “going global” for nuclear power. I would like to assure the friends of the press that we will attach great importance to the safety issue in countries where our nuclear power “goes global”. Thank you.


My question is for Mr Ma. As China’s aging population keeps growing, will such increase affect China’s old-age insurance and related medical insurance? My second question is about several reported cases of Ebola in northern China. Could you confirm this?

Ma Xiaowei:

China’s aging population is growing very fast, with the increase of people above 65 years old even faster. Recent statistics have shown that the percentage of 65 years old-above people who see the doctor or go to hospital is more than twice that of young people. Of course, this has caused considerable pressure to China’s medical insurance system.

First, since China’s reform and opening up, especially in the recent decade, the government has established a basic medical insurance network that covers nearly 1.3 billion people through medical insurance systems for urban workers and residents as well as the new rural cooperative medical system.

Though the network is still underdeveloped, but it has quite a wide coverage, providing systematic medical guarantee for the old, the middle-aged, the young and the children. This is one of the notable achievements that China’s medical and healthcare industry has made.

Second, in terms of the following medical reform, the government will play a leading role in attracting the participation of commercial insurance institutions, to develop various forms of commercial insurances and supplementary insurances. This will further strengthen the public’s ability to resist the risk of getting serious diseases. This is a very important aspect of China’s medical insurance industry.

All these efforts will offer great medical guarantee and help China to resist potential risk of getting serious illnesses as it becomes an aging society.

Ma Xiaowei:

Third, the State Council has recently released polices concerning the healthy development of the old-age care industry. We need to borrow the advanced experience from other countries in terms of the medical care for the old, to avoid the problems that they’ve already met.

The work will rely on community and family, with coordinated services in recovery, medical care and insurance.

The government will play a guiding role in attracting social participation and multiple sources of investment to solve the issue of medical insurance.

We will pay special attention to developing the model of community service that combines medical care and care for the aged together, so that we don’t have to set up nursing homes only to care for the aged.

The government pays high attention and give a boost to developing such service industry that enables medical care to go from the hospital to communities and households.

This is also an important direction for developing our medical and health services next.

About the question of Ebola, I’m responsible to tell you that no Ebola case has occurred within Chinese mainland, even a suspected one. We are organizing various parties to perform the duty as a major country and help to control the situation in West Africa. We are also offering a hand in establishing sound public care systems in those countries.

Asahi Shimbun:

I have two questions for Mr Wang Xiaotao. Just now, you said that railway and nuclear power were two key industries in China’s equipment export. Has the Chinese government set long-term and midterm goals for the two industries? The second question is, has the equipment export helped to ease the problem of domestic overcapacity?

Wang Xiaotao:

The equipment “going global” project and the international cooperation in production are both bilateral and multilateral cooperation, which China cannot decide alone. As for the long-term goal, at present, we have not set a clear target. Strictly speaking, the work has just started.

The second question is a major concern for many, and also one I often think about. In China’s market, the supply exceeds demand and thus overcapacity exists. Many people say that China’s equipment “going global” is meant to solve the problem of domestic overcapacity. I also thought this way before.

However, I found through observation that this point does not make sense. In the era of globalized economy, the international markets are largely open and interconnected. A great deal of Chinese products have already been exported.

For example, when China invests in a country and builds a factory there, some of the capacity is introduced there too. But actually much of the market supply in that country was already provided by China in the past. The whole world is one market. So we cannot draw an equation between the two things. Maybe there will be positive effect, but I think we should differentiate the two things.

Recently, I have worked in a less developed country, where most of the daily necessities are made in China. In our consultation, both the government and the local residents hoped Chinese enterprises can build processing factories there, so as to improve employment and increase output value, and localize the production. So I hope you all can go abroad more when you get the chance. This kind of things are quite common. The market in that country has already been supplied with Chinese goods, so the local government and people earnestly hope China can invest and build factories there.

China News Service:

I read from recent news reports that the National Development and Reform Commission is leading the formulation of guidelines on the going global strategy of Chinese equipment. I’d like to know the progress of the guidelines work. In the guidelines, what measures will be taken to support Chinese equipment selling abroad? Thank you.

Wang Xiaotao:

On the State Council executive meeting on Jan 28, the going global of Chinese equipment and the international cooperation on capacity were discussed. A relevant guideline will be made in the next step. The guideline may provide some supportive polices in banking and finance. But the work has just started, so I cannot provide more information to you today.

Hu Kaihong (host):

Due to the time limit, this is the end of today’s briefing. We’ll hold another press briefing next week. Thank you, three ministers. Thank you all. See you next week.