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Review of State Council executive meetings in July

Updated: Jul 31,2015 2:10 PM

The executive meetings of the State Council in July show that Premier Li Keqiang is taking serious measures to address problems that are of public concern.

1. “Scenery” of flooding caused by rainstorms

In recent years, “a sea” of flooding caused by rainstorms has become a sort of “scenery” in many cities. A rainstorm can easily cause water logging, disrupt traffic, lead to water and power cuts, and even injuries. The roads are dug or filled in time and time again. While many cities appear bright and modern, their infrastructure remains weak.

[Build or refurbish urban underground pipeline networks]

The executive meeting of the State Council on July 28 decided to build city underground pipeline networks, which concern underground infrastructure for the installation of power, water, heating, telecommunications, gas and other systems.

In order to carry out this task:

* Governments at various levels are required to draft plans and prioritize this task in their annual plan.

* The construction of underground facilities in new urban districts, parks and development zones will be carried out at the same time as roads. Underground projects in old cities will be carried out during city renovation, road reconstruction and river regulation efforts.

* The construction of underground facilities will be further improved so that they are quake-proof and can withstand natural disasters.

* The underground projects will be open to private funds through franchising and will offer investment subsidies and discounted loans.

2. Nominal paid vacations

Only very few employees are currently able to enjoy paid vacation, which is one of their rights. A survey by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security showed that only about half of employees polled take paid leave.

[Promote the implementation of paid vacations]

The executive meeting of the State Council on July 28 decided to promote the implementation of paid vacations across the nation.

The meeting also issued measures to boost investment in tourism and consumption.

* Provide a better tourism environment.

* Encourage the development of rural tourism with specific features and support college graduates and migrant workers who start businesses related to rural tourism.

* Find new tourism hot spots.

* Increase government investment in tourism, encourage the private sector to invest in the tourism market, and promote the adoption of the public-private-partnership mode.

3. “Swallow the pain” of domestic violence

While it is widely accepted that violence is wrong, some people still seem to think that it is normal for a man to beat his wife and parents to beat their children. For quite a long time, domestic violence was considered to be a private, family problem. As a result, those who suffered in silence had nowhere to get help, and there was certainly no punishment for the offenders.

[Pass a draft law on domestic violence]

The executive meeting of the State Council on July 28 passed a draft law on domestic violence. The draft prioritizes prevention and combines education and punishment for offenders, with jail terms meted out for serious offenses.

It also clearly defines the responsibilities of various parties, including the government, social organizations, medical institutions and schools, to safeguard the rights and interests of family members, especially women and children.

The draft law will be submitted to the country’s top legislature for deliberation.

4. Random inspection

What is the biggest headache for enterprises? The answer is overregulation. Some inspectors simply abuse their power of supervision. They can choose the objects of inspection randomly and impose fines at will.

[Random checks to ensure fair market conditions]

The executive meeting of the State Council on July 22 decided:

* All inspections should be carried out in accordance with laws and regulations.

* There will be greater transparency in law enforcement actions, and market players will have greater incentive to obey the laws.

* A “two-way random check” mechanism will be established to make sure both the parties under scrutiny and the inspectors are chosen randomly.

5. Poverty caused by ill-health

In many areas of China, a serious illness can be catastrophic for an ordinary household, and an increasing number of media reports focus on people who are unable to afford the medical expenses of their family members.

[Implement the critical illness insurance for urban and rural residents]

In order to address this issue, the executive meeting of the State Council on July 22 decided:

* Urban and rural resident insurance for major illnesses will cover all subscribers to the urban and rural resident basic medical insurance by the end of 2015, and at least 50 percent of the expenditure, which was previously paid by the patients, will be reimbursed by the major illness insurance, and the proportion will gradually rise.

* The insurance scheme will be run by commercial insurance agencies chosen by the government through bidding. Such agencies will be required to achieve a balanced budget and make slight profits, and ensure capital adequacy and payment capacity.

* Coordination between the insurance and other systems such as social assistance will “secure minimum well-being and effectively avert the impact of high medical expenses on households.”

6. Unnecessary professional qualifications and licenses

Many people would perhaps never have known that a dockworker requires a professional license if they had not heard about the cancellation of this license requirement. The accreditation of unnecessary professional qualifications and licenses, which requires complicated examinations and is of little value, has been a waste of time and money for people.

[Professional licenses in 62 categories will not be required]

The executive meeting of the State Council on July 15 decided:

* Professional licenses will not be required in 62 categories, including web advertising brokers, registered e-commerce architects, national foreign trade salesmen and dockworkers, in addition to the 149 categories already canceled since last year.

7. Underprivileged students worried about college loans

While many students are looking forward to the coming new school year, some underprivileged students are worried about their tuition fees. Even if they could get a college loan, the repayment after graduation is still a heavy burden.

[Provide financial assistance to students in poverty]

The executive meeting of the State Council on July 8 decided:

* The government will pay the interest on college loans before underprivileged students graduate.

* Raise the maximum loan term from 14 to 20 years.

* Graduates working in grassroots workplaces in poor and remote areas can apply for provincial financial departments to repay the loans.