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China’s cabinet restructuring plan meets development needs, streamlines governance system

Updated: Mar 16,2018 8:54 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s massive cabinet restructuring plan unveiled on March 13 is widely seen by international observers as a significant and revolutionary move to meet the needs of the people and the country’s development and streamline the governance system with a more efficient administration.

The institutional reform plan of the State Council, targeting a better-structured, more efficient and service-oriented government, was submitted to the ongoing first session of the 13th National People’s Congress for review.

If passed, it would be China’s biggest government reshuffle in years, in which the State Council would have 15 fewer entities at ministerial or vice-ministerial levels.

Observers believe that the move, as part of a broader plan of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to reform the Party and State institutions, would optimize the government’s functions by promoting coordinated actions and improving levels of management and public service to better satisfy people’s demands and the needs of development in a new era.

Given China’s fast pace of development, revamping the current governance system and adapting it to the changing conditions in various fields is an urgent task, said Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore.

To reform State institutions even further is an important step for the comprehensive establishment of the institutional system, which is seen as a cornerstone of the country’s long-term stability and peace, he said.

For Milton Reyes, an expert at Ecuador’s Institute of Advanced National Studies, China has entered a new stage of development, which means the CPC, China’s ruling party, needs to improve its ability to run the world’s second-largest economy.

The plan to reform State institutions was proposed at just the right time with quite clear targets, Reyes said, adding that the endeavors would optimize the government’s structure and functions, and cut bureaucracy.

Besides downsizing the cabinet, China also plans to create a series of new ministries, including a ministry of natural resources, a ministry of veterans affairs and an international development cooperation agency, and to integrate national and local taxation systems at and below the provincial level.

China’s efforts to further reform the Party and State institutions will facilitate the functioning and improve the working efficiency and quality of the administration, so as to further reinforce the full implementations of policies from the central government, Jon Taylor, a professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas in the United States, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, the reallocation of power, brought about by the shake-up at all levels of governments, would also lead to a more efficient management of the government, he added.

With the reshuffle, the government would play a more effective role in performing its functions, said Ignacio Cortes, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “It will lay a solid foundation of governance for China’s sustainable development in the future.”

When it comes to efficiency, Ecuadorean expert Reyes spoke highly of the move to cut bureaucracy, saying that “it will help China to build an effective, transparent and honest administration.”

Selcuk Colakoglu, vice chairman of Turkey’s International Strategic Research Organization, said he was fully confident in China’s reforms.

“It has entered a key stage, which is very crucial for China’s development and modernization,” he said.