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Full transcript of the State Council policy briefing on June 17

Updated: Jun 17,2016 5:58 PM

Xi Yanchun (Host):

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the State Council’s policy briefing. Recently, the State Council executive meeting discussed a series of very important issues. To help you get a better understanding of those issues, we are glad to have two vice-ministers here with us today. Yi Jun, vice-minister of housing and urban-rural development, will talk about streamlining earnest payments and regulating the construction sector. Jin Xiaotao, vice-minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, will introduce applications in health and medical big data. They will also answer your questions. Now, Mr Yi, please.

Yi Jun:

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First, please let me take this opportunity to thank you for your concern about and support for the work of housing and urban-rural development. Now, I will give you an introduction about the work in streamlining and regulating earnest money in the construction sector.

The State Council is paying great attention to streamlining and regulating earnest payments. Currently, different kinds of huge earnest payments add financial burdens to enterprises. So efforts should be made to tackle those problems, reducing enterprise burdens and creating a favorable business environment.

As a necessary measure to promote streamlining administration and delegating power to lower-level governments and optimizing administrative services, streamlining and regulating earnest payments in the construction sector will help develop the credit economy, build a standardized construction market, promote fairness, and boost transformation and upgrades of the construction industry. According to the State Council’s direction, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development put forward policy measures after investigation of earnest payments in the construction sector. The measures were passed at the State Council executive meeting on June 15. Major measures are as follows:

Yi Jun:

First, trim off items set for earnest payments

Construction enterprises are obliged to pay no earnest payments, except the four items required to guarantee their bidding, contract implementation, construction quality, and payment to migrant workers in accordance with laws and regulations.

Second, change the way of payment

Construction enterprises are able to pay the due amount to guarantee their bidding, contract implementation, construction quality, and payment to migrant workers through letters of guarantee issued by banks.

Third, refund in due time

Local governments will refund enterprises for the abolished items set for earnest payments by the end of 2016, and strictly implement related regulations to ensure timely refunds of the remaining four items.

Fourth, strengthen management on earnest payment for construction quality

The amount of earnest payments for construction quality will not exceed 5 percent of the overall project costs.

Before completion of a project, the project owner cannot keep the earnest payment for construction quality if the construction enterprise has submitted the earnest payment for contract implementation.

Fifth, adopt a different mechanism to collect earnest payments for migrant workers’ wages

Enterprises will pay less or no earnest payment in this regard if they pay migrant workers within a certain period of time.

Sixth, regulate the mechanism of earnest payments

We will draft and amend related laws and regulations to improve the management and implementation of the remaining items of earnest payments.

For the abolished ones, we will amend or abolish previous regulations. In addition, we will make earnest payments part of the credit system to monitor and regulate construction enterprises.

Seventh, prohibit new earnest payments

Without approval from the State Council, local governments and ministries cannot set new items for earnest payments in the field of engineering and construction in any form.

We will promote information transparency concerning earnest payments in the field of engineering and construction. We will establish a reporting-investigation mechanism, publish findings from the investigations periodically, and release typical cases that involve illegal collection of earnest payments.

I will wrap up my introduction here. Thank you. I’d like to take questions from you later.

Jin Xiaotao:

Good morning, media friends. Now let me introduce the big data platform for health and medical services.

During the past year, we studied the information construction of health and medical services, and heard advice from experts and all parties concerned, and finally drew up the document. The guideline was passed at the 136th State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on June 8, after several adjustments were made.

The big data platform for health and medical services involves a person’s basic health condition, medical service, disease control and prevention, food safety, and health care, covering an individual’s whole life cycle. It can not only help improve related public services, but also play a big role in economic and social development. As a fundamental national strategic resource, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to it. The guideline makes clear requirements on promoting the big data platform for health and medical services from two major aspects - needs of ordinary people, and economic and social development. It includes three main points:

Jin Xiaotao:

First, promote a new medical service model through collaboration with the Internet industry. By 2020, a big data industrial system of medical services should be created, with a national public health information platform and a development model that fits national conditions.

Second, establish a unified and interconnected public health information platform. By integrating medical big data resources, intellectual medical services will be provided to benefit people, and related laws and regulations will be released.

Third, explore the cooperation between government and social capital. Established capital funds should be used fully, and a new investment model and international cooperative model should be encouraged. Also, supervision should be improved for risk prevention.

Policies proposed by the guideline will help improve public medical services, boost the medical service big data industry and foster new economic engines.

It is a brand new project with various participants and covers many fields. It has drawn great social attention and demands privacy protection. Therefore, we must make innovative efforts in supervision and strengthen collaboration between departments. We will make more efforts in personal data protection and Internet security, and develop products with independent core technologies. The National Health and Family Planning Commission will work with related departments to implement the policy.

Xi Yanchun:

Now question time, and please identify yourself before you ask your questions.

People’s Daily:

My question is for Mr Jin. As the health and medical big data is a concept, would you please illustrate it in a way that we can see the real benefit it will bring to us.

Jin Xiaotao:

Thank you! That’s a good question. In fact, we made many investigation and surveys when drawing up the guideline. The following three aspects will tell you what benefits people can get from the plan to improve their living standard.

First, the government will continue to enhance proactive health services. After medical information is shared on the big data platform, people will enjoy effective treatment. At present, the practice of such plans, as Internet health consultation, medical appointments, direct expense settlement in the consulting room or away from their hometown, and mobile payment, gives people a more convenient experience. The new ways of making an appointment and settling expenses on the internet, which have impressed people very much, turn out to be a good solution to the previously redundant or lengthy treatment process..

Second, the guideline will let more people get access to high-quality medical resources, especially pertaining to certain diseases. The development of the health and medical big data platform will help reallocate high-quality resources to lower level administrative areas, put the hierarchical medical system in place, step up the popularization of telemedicine and promote precision treatment.

The pilot provinces for medical reform now are starting to explore sharing results of medical examinations based on the big data platform. With all cases of illness on record on the platform, doctors can acquire consecutive records of treatment and give a high-quality and reasonable diagnosis and treatment scheme. In other words, the greater access of people to high-quality medical resources is promising, due to the reliable technical support.

Third, the new type of business, called integrated medical services, which focuses on comprehensive health management from prevention to treatment, will bring more benefits to people. As traditional Chinese medical science values the preventive treatment of disease, we will use big data to collect all the health information and indicators of vital signs in our database, monitor those signs with wearable devices, and alert people if something is abnormal. Lifecycle health services, including disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and health management through applications of big data analysis will be a new trend of health services management in the future.

China Radio International:

Minister Yi Jun, just now you mentioned that in the sector of engineering construction, there are a varied number of “earnest payments”, imposing a heavier burden on operation costs for enterprises. Can you analyze how high the proportion of earnest payments is in overall operation costs? In addition, will the cleaning up of “earnest payments” result in a relaxed restriction on related construction enterprises?

Yi Jun:

Indeed, there are varied numbers of earnest payments. Both Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli have attached great importance to it, urging efforts to alleviate the burden on enterprises. Currently in the engineering construction sector, in addition to earnest payments for fulfilling a contract, bidding for a project and guaranteeing engineering quality and wages for migrant workers, there are 24 kinds of earnest payments set up in different regions, which include one for ensuring credibility and civilized construction, as well as negotiation payments, which was mentioned by Premier Li. According to an investigation launched in some provinces and cities, and in seven state-owned enterprises, the total amount of deposits accounted for 10 percent of a company’s annual operating revenue, which is the average level in the country. For the seven state-owned enterprises, which had 311.6 billion yuan in overall “earnest payments” in 2015, it was 11.3 percent of their annual revenue. From this number, we can see how heavy the burden is for enterprises. And most of these deposits are paid in cash. Thus, it’s estimated that the annual payments in the past two years can reach more than one trillion yuan.

At the same time, many recipients, including those from government, didn’t return these payments to enterprises within the agreed upon time, which has caused a great burden for construction enterprises. In this regard, the State Council has repeatedly issued instructions, urging more efforts to alleviate the burden on enterprises. It also called for stepping up efforts to clean up the practice of “earnest payments” in the field of engineering construction, which is also a necessary measure to promote the reform of streamlining government and delegating authorities to lower levels, improve regulation and optimize services.

Just now you asked are there any constraints on enterprises after these earnest payments are abolished. We will implement a bank guarantee system to replace the earnest payments, which are paid in cash. It is an international practice. The introduction of third-party financial institutions is a kind of constraint on both the construction enterprise and the beneficiary. It is also a guarantee that can promote credit management.

China Daily:

How will personal information protection and Internet security be guaranteed during the building of a health and medical data platform? Thank you.

Jin Xiaotao:

Your question is very specific. In terms of personal information protection and Internet security, we did a thorough study when we made the policy. We will enhance the protection and security in the following aspects.

Security issues go hand in hand with the platform’s development. The platform can only be developed under the condition of good security. On the other hand, a better development will guarantee security. So both security and development are important to the development of the big data platform. So we should attach great importance to the privacy protection of individual health and medical data and Internet security. It is crucial to the future development of the entire big data platform application.

There are at least three things we need to pay attention to. First is the individual health and medical information. Strict management and protection are required to prevent any leaks in personal information. A strengthened security risk appraisal system should also be established.

Big data has been applied to personal data by avoiding including any information that may violate privacy. The analysis of any disease should only be based on health and medical big data and not on private information.

Second, laws and regulations in this regard should be implemented. They will be established to regulate Internet security, paying more attention to the content and technology. Our study will emphasize both excluding private information and enhancing privacy protection. We will study how to be transparent on data without disclosing any personal information.

Third, we will learn from other countries on further studying data collection and privacy protection, allowing medical big data to better adapt to the economic new normal, especially the spirit of mass entrepreneurship and innovation. Thank you.

China Central Television:

Mr Yi, you just said the government has released several measures to reduce enterprises’ burden and lower their costs. Why did the government consider regulating earnest payments in the construction sector? And what measures will it take to prevent new kinds of earnest payments in the future?

Yi Jun:

Regulating earnest payments will help reduce enterprises’ burden and increase their vitality. According to statistics and the general regulating situation, we estimated that the move will vitalize nearly one trillion yuan for construction enterprises, which will greatly reduce their burden and bring vigor to the market.

As I said earlier, this move will also help develop the credit economy. Enterprises with good credit will have an easier time getting letters of guarantee from the banks. The move in the construction sector will help build a standardized construction market, promote fair competition, offer the same entrance threshold for enterprises and remove the factors that can affect fair competition.

At the same time, it will also encourage enterprises to invest more funds to guarantee the quality of construction, train skilled workers and conduct technological research to promote upgrades in industries, so there are a lot of benefits.

The second question is about the regulation scope and supervision in the next step. We will remove all earnest payments that are not supported by law. In the next step, no new earnest payments will be allowed without permission from the State Council. In addition, we will publicize the payment information, set up a reporting and punishment mechanism, and we will expose some typical cases of punishment results. We will also cancel or revise regulations that are not in line with current laws. These moves are to help the healthy development of the construction sector, and guarantee that all earnest payments will be set up legally.

China News Service:

My question goes to Mr Jin, what significance will promoting and standardizing the development of medical big data have for the industry and enterprises?

Jin Xiaotao:

Let’s welcome Zhang Feng, vice director of the Department of Planning and Information of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, to give us a brief introduction.

Zhang Feng:

Thank you very much. First, there are two key words in the document, one is “promote”, and the other is “standardize”. Related market entities have fully participated in the drafting process of the document. It now seems that promoting the development of medical big data is mainly about the joint innovation of governments, enterprises, universities and research institutions. It involves innovation in related fields, and so far we still have to make greater efforts in core technologies and products. Meanwhile, from the perspective of its influence on enterprises, room for industrial development is becoming bigger and bigger. We are badly in need of a system for identity codes, risk examination and security checks for data desensitization and clustering. Furthermore, data will be activated after the application rule of data classification and data grading is formed, and these data will be used for clustering and sharing. Especially, as Mr Jin just said, we have to build a platform for the in-depth use by the public and enterprises. We have also known related data opening information abroad, and at home we are speeding up the work in this respect. Looking forward, we have the foundations in China, and innovations and breakthroughs are being nurtured. Therefore, the industry will have a more standardized development room to grow, with more strict rules and broader prospects. We have to further encourage enterprises to develop in areas that are more conducive to innovation.

Second, in the whole current application process, we may have to build a mechanism for win-win and participation by multiple parties. The innovation of governments, enterprises, universities, and research institutions is a good start of the development of health and medical data, which is involved, tried, and shared by all. After the application rule is set up, I believe, the room for industrial development will be bigger and bigger. At the same time, we will continue to protect and standardize citizens’ privacy. It is absolutely unacceptable to reveal personal information. On the whole, the influence that health and medical big data will have on industries and enterprises is becoming an innovation field. In this field, we are grabbing opportunities in accordance with the requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and a good momentum for win-win and sharing is being created.

Jin Xiaotao:

Just now Mr Zhang introduced the main considerations concerning promoting and standardizing the application of medical big data. I would like to add a few words. With expectations of guidelines from related enterprises and departments and high attention on related news releases after the State Council executive meeting, the whole society shows strong interest in this issue. That is because this matter is related to the whole human life cycle and also covers many industry chains. Related research shows that the growth rate of China’s medical and health care IT market has remained above 14 percent in recent years, and the growth rate of mobile medical market reached over 20 percent. China has had abundant practice in healthcare and medical big data application and has been forming a base for its speedy development.

From the aspect of industry development, the healthcare and medical industry will contribute more to the national economy in the future. The guideline involves more than 20 departments, which almost cover all major industries, and also cover sectors such as medical service, health management, food security and nutrition, and pension insurance. Therefore, the promotion and standardization of medical and healthcare big data application will accelerate the research and popularization of intelligent healthcare equipment and enhance the capacity of the sectors, including medicine, finance, logistics, pension, insurance, education and body-building. It will speed up the upgrades in the health industries and is conducive to the promotion of mass entrepreneurship and innovation.

The current work should first focus on completing all software and service platforms for healthcare and medical big data as soon as possible, increase the public’s benefits, and provide support and driving forces for medical reform.

In addition, related demonstration projects should be launched during the implementation. Departments and enterprises from regions and provinces have shown their enthusiasm, and we will make full use of current facilities and resources to encourage market players and improve related application and promotion work. I believe, with the promotion of national pilot projects, the expansion of new healthcare and medical business activities and models will bring new vitality to economic development and produce new driving forces for the economy under the new normal.

Economic Daily:

Mr Jin just mentioned that big data has important meaning to the medical and healthcare industry. However, medical information isolation has also become a serious problem. Could you please tell us what measures have been taken to interconnect medical data and resources?

Jin Xiaotao:

Please let Mr Zhang answer this question. The question you raised is a common phenomenon and it is quite important.

Zhang Feng:

Thanks for your question. On the one hand, information construction has a gradual development process. Information isolation emerged due to technology conditions and the demand of many services at that time. But entering a certain historic stage, integration, sharing, application and openness of data and resources will be naturally needed because of the introduction of new technologies.

While drafting the document this time, it was made clear that current facilities and resources should be expanded and improved. At the State Council executive meeting it was decided to establish unified and authorized population health information platforms that cover four levels - state, provinces, cities and counties, to integrate isolated information, data and resources among departments.

The next step is to provide services for the public and enterprises by using those platforms. The government also can manage policies through the platform. Currently there are 16 provincial information platforms that have been established.

Meanwhile, the range of healthcare and medical industry is very wide and one system is not enough. We have information systems for public health, medical service, family planning, medical insurance, drug supply and comprehensive supervision. The future trend of health and medical big data will be data ponds and oceans. We hope to integrate data and resources through the platforms to better serve our people, market entities and government. Thank you.

Jin Xiaotao:

Just now Mr Zhang introduced some practical situations. Information isolation is an inevitable phenomenon during information construction. To solve the problem, we need to use new technologies to reach a good final result. The document has made clear specific requirements. According to the State Council’s requirements, we are accelerating solving the problem you just mentioned and building authoritative and interconnected platforms to co-share and co-construct information and promote healthcare and medical big data. We will make our efforts to contribute to people’s livelihood improvement and economic development. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

That’s all for today’s policy briefing. Thank you.