The anonymous official “Xuanyan” wrote in the commentary that during the reform process, the government is prioritizing the people. In a bid to better serve the people, government departments have to “shift from a quantity-centered management model to one centered on quality one.” This impulse is reflected in the newly established departments, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the MEE, and the MEM.
Among the 15 new departments, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs (MVA) has received the most attention for being set up at a high level and taking over a number of functions from the CPC. According to the reform program, the MVA will take over some responsibilities from the political and logistics sections of the Central Military Commission under the CPC, which suggests the latest institutional reforms will not be concentrated only within the State Council.
“Given that China is led and guided by the CPC, reforms will never have their intended effect if they do not reach the Party as well,” Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute, at the National University of Singapore, told Singapore-based paper Lianhe Zaobao.
Following the restructuring of the State Council, the CPC central committee issued another program on deepening reform of the government and Party departments, announcing it would upgrade four of the Party’s “leadership groups” – those on economics and finance, network security, foreign affairs and reform deepening – to the commission level.
According to the program, the upgrade aims to strengthen the leadership of the Party by empowering the commissions to do top-level design and make general arrangements and supervision of major issues.
“As the ruling Party, the CPC exerts its leadership generally by the administrative power of the government. However, the leadership was somewhat weakened by separating government administration from society and companies, which has been implemented in recent years,” Mao Shoulong, the executive president of the Public Policy Center, at the Renmin University of China, told NewsChina.
“Given China’s political system, we must organize and coordinate reforms in both the government and the Party departments and organs, or the reforms will neither be ‘thorough’ nor ‘deep,’” he added.
That is why Liu He emphasized that the latest reform should be “all-round.” “Different from previous reforms, the latest institutional reform should cover all fields, including the Party, the government, the NPC, the CPPCC, law enforcement organs, social organizations, the military organs, local government departments and so on... The reform should ensure the centralized and unified leadership [of the Party], while giving more autonomy to provincial and lower-level departments,” he said.
In an interview with news portal The Paper, Ma Liang, a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University, said that a more decisive factor in the ongoing reform lies in how to deal with the relationship between the government and Party departments, and how the lower-level departments and local governments will achieve corresponding reforms. He stressed the need for an appraisal and review process to check how well the reformed departments and organs integrate their functions and coordinate with the Party