Alexa

China's leaders approve administrative reform proposals, list of suggested new ministers

China's leaders approve administrative reform proposals, list of suggested new ministers

China's leaders called Wednesday for more evenly distributed economic growth and stronger protections for civil and political rights under continued one-party Communist rule.
The acknowledgment of what critics say are some of China's most pressing problems came in a statement issued at the end of a three-day meeting of the Communist Party's powerful Central Committee.
The committee also approved new ministerial appointments and sweeping institutional reforms.
The decisions are almost certain to gain final approval at next week's annual session of the National People's Congress, the rubber-stamp national legislature that rarely opposes government policies.
The statement said China had succeeded in "appropriately" boosting political consciousness and economic reform, but that further refinements are still needed.
"At the same time, our country's political institutions still have some places that are not well adapted to the new economic development situation and new demands for protection of the people's democratic rights and protection of social fairness and justice," the statement said.
No further details were given and the language mainly reflected the Communist Party's long-standing calls for refinements to improve efficiency, while stopping well short of encouraging dramatic political change.
Leaders have resisted all calls for the party to share power and have instead called for greater democracy within the party _ something aimed at increasing participation in decision-making by rank-and-file members.
"We must even more unswervingly follow the political development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics," said the statement, using standard wording describing China's mix of single-party Communist rule and market economics.
The statement was issued at the close of a three-day meeting of the 204-member body at central Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the seat of the legislature. It did not name any new appointees or give details of the two reform proposals.
However, administrative reform proposals circulated in the Chinese and Hong Kong media have called for cutting the number of Cabinet-level bodies from 28 to a little over 20 by merging government departments that have overlapping responsibilities.
The most hotly touted reform plan _ termed the "big ministry system" _ would fold scattered departments into four new "super ministries" dealing with the crucial areas of energy, transportation, environmental protection and finance.
It was not clear whether the new bodies would come into being gradually or all at once.
Backers have said the plan would reduce waste and bureaucratic infighting, but have warned that greater oversight might be needed to prevent the bodies from abusing their newly concentrated powers.
Appointments are the second major order of business for the congress. New figures were expected to take up roles in diplomacy, trade and other sensitive areas.
President and party leader Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao were expected to retain their positions for another five years, and their likely eventual successors will be moved into higher positions such as the vice presidency.
Discussions at the congress will likely focus on challenges facing China, from winter storms that ravaged much of central and eastern China to rising inflation and the staging of this summer's Beijing Olympic Games.


Updated : 2021-04-19 01:45 GMT+08:00