China to revamp central government and various regulators what does it all mean

Over the past weekend, the Chinese legislature decided on a major restructuring of governmental agencies.

The restructuring plan was announced by the State Council on 13 March 2018, and approved by the National People's Congress on 17 March. Although the reform was anticipated and has been a public discussion topic since the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China passed a resolution on reforming state institutions on 28 February 2018, the extent and significance of the planned reform measures went beyond the expectation of many commentators.

Based on statements by some of China's high-ranking officials, the purpose of the reform is to re-allocate functions among governmental authorities more rationally, cut red-tape, consolidate law enforcement units, and switch the focus from administrative approval to interim and post-approval supervision. The ultimate goal is to make government more efficient, and remove the mechanical and other obstacles which prevent government from functioning better and the market from playing a decisive role in resource allocation. However, to what extent such aims can be achieved in practice remains to be seen.

What is certain is that, after the reform, the ministerial level institutions of the State Council will be reduced by eight and the vice-ministerial level institutions will be reduced by seven. Correspondingly, the law enforcement powers of the relevant regulators will be more integrated and concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of agencies.

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