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Building a Law-based Administrative Governance System with Clear Functions and Responsibilities

Submit Time:24-05-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Yuan Shuhong | Source:People’s Daily (April 25, 2018)

Abstract:

The 3rd Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee first took the building of "a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities" as a goal of deepening the reform of the Party and state institutions, adopted a comprehensive plan, put forward specific requirements, set a clear direction and made clear tasks for further improving government institution setups and functions, speeding up efforts to transform government functions, and deepening the administrative system reform. We must follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, deeply comprehend the essence of the session, and implement it resolutely and thoroughly.  

Fully Realizing the Great Significance of Building a Law-Based Administrative Governance System with Clear Functions and Responsibilities  

Building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities is a major decision and arrangement made by our Party through comprehensively summarizing the results of and experience in administrative system reforms after the founding of New China, especially since the reform and opening-up, and focusing on the overall development of the cause of the Party and the country. It is of great significance against the background of socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era and the profound evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society.  

Building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities is an important goal of deepening the reform of the Party and state institutions. Since the reform and opening-up, China has successively carried out seven centralized reforms of administrative systems and government institutions, and constantly strengthened self-construction of the government. Significant achievements have been obtained. The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has paid high attention to the administrative system reform since the 18th CPC National Congress. Faced with new requirements for new tasks in the new era, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee coordinated the improvement of government institution setups and functions and the deepening of the reform of the Party and state institutions, deployed the government governance system together with Party and state institutions, CPC leadership system, armed forces system and work system of people's organizations, improved institution setups and functions of the State Council, clearly defined the responsibilities, canceled eight ministerial-level institutions and seven vice-ministerial level institutions under the State Council, further made clear the reform direction, goals and content of the government governance system, and established the master plan of improving government institution setups and functions in the new era, fully indicating that our Party's understanding and practice of the administrative system reform have reached new heights.  

Building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities is an urgent need for the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance. Government is a subject of national governance. Government governance system takes up an important position in national governance system. The level and extent of government governance system establishment directly influence the perfection of national governance system and improvement of governance capacity. Currently, unscientific government institution setups and segregation of duties, prominent problem of absent duties and inefficiency and poor transformation of governmental functions have greatly influenced and restricted the effect of national governance. We must deeply realize the importance and urgency of building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities from a strategic perspective of pushing on with the modernization of the country's governing system and capability; accelerate standardization, procedural compliance and legislation of government governance; be good at using law-based thinking and approaches to deepen the reform, promote development, resolve conflicts and maintain stability; and continue to increase the level of scientific, democratic and law-based governance.  

Building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities is an inevitable requirement of coordinately implementing the "five-sphere integrated plan" and the "four-pronged comprehensive strategy." The administrative system reform is not only an important starting point for realizing the overall goal of comprehensively deepening the reform, but also a key measure to ensure that the market plays the decisive role in resource allocation and the government better plays its role. In addition, it also connects and runs through the reform of economic system, political system, cultural system, social system, and ecological civilization system. Only by building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities, resolutely removing defects in systems and institutions which restrict the market to play the decisive role in resource allocation and the government to better play its role, and strengthening and improving governmental functions of economic regulation, market supervision, social management, public service and eco-environment protection around the promotion of high-quality development and construction of modern economic system, can we provide a powerful institutional guarantee for achieving the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and the overall objective of comprehensively deepening the reform and comprehensively promoting the rule by law.  

Strictly Following Important Principles of Building a Law-Based Administrative Governance System with Clear Functions and Responsibilities  

Building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities should be based on basic characteristics and rules of government governance and follow important principles of the reform of the Party and state institutions.  

Uphold the overall leadership of the Party which is the fundamental guarantee for deepening the reform of the Party and state institutions. The Party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country. The Party is the highest force for political leadership. The greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Party. Strengthening the leadership of the Party over the building of a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities and implementing the leadership in every aspect and the whole process of government governance are the primary task of improving government institution setups and functions and the soul of building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities. We must adhere to the direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics, strengthen the consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core and keep in alignment, firmly uphold the authority and centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping as the core, voluntarily and closely follow the CPC Central Committee in terms of thinking, political orientation, and actions, perfect institutional arrangements ensuring overall leadership of the Party, and ensure that the Party always plays its role as the core leadership in the course of exercising overall leadership and coordinating efforts of all involved.  

Adhere to a people-centered approach. Our government is the government of the people. We must be accountable to the people, serve them, and properly accomplish, safeguard and develop fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. To build a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities, we must remain committed to serving, relying on, benefiting and protecting the people, improve systems and mechanisms which seek benefits and work for them, relieve their anxiety, safeguard their rights and interests, listen to their voice and are subject to their supervision, and meet their ever-growing needs for a better life. Meanwhile, fully mobilize the initiative and creativity of the people, and allow social organizations to assume the roles that they are capable of assuming, so as to provide more powerful guarantee for the people to manage state affairs, economic and cultural causes and social affairs in accordance with the law.  

Adhere to optimization, collaboration and efficiency. Persist in a problem-oriented approach, and focus on the needs of development, low-level expectations and the public wish; improve government institution setups and functions, and uphold that one department manages one type of matters in principle and that one department is in charge of one thing in principle; strengthen the cooperation and interaction among relevant institutions, and avoid chaotic polices, ambiguous responsibilities and buck passing; and be determined to remove the defects in systems and mechanisms restricting reform and development, so as to make the setup of government institutions more scientific, functions more effective, power and responsibilities more synergistic, supervision and regulation more forceful, and operation more efficient. 

Uphold the administration according to the law. Law-based governance is the basic way for the Party to lead the people in governing the country. Law-based government administration is the essential rule of governments at all levels. In China, governments at all levels as the executive bodies of the organs of state power are the major subject enforcing laws and regulations. Most laws, local regulations and almost all administrative regulations are executed by administrative authorities at all levels. To build a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities, we must place law-based government administration in a more important and more prominent position, accelerate the building of law-based government, actively promote the legalization of institutions, functions, powers, procedures and responsibilities, and bring all government activities into the track of rule of law.  

Correctly Grasping Main Tasks of Building a Law-Based Administrative Governance System with Clear Functions and Responsibilities  

Faced with new tasks and new requirements for new goals in the new era, tasks of the following aspects must be well completed in order to adjust and optimize functions of government institutions, fully increase government efficiency, build a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities and build a service-oriented government that satisfies the people.  

Allocate the functions of macro-management departments in a reasonable way. It is a basic requirement for building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities. Without scientific and effective macro management, the socialist market economic system cannot be improved, and the modernization of the country's governing system and capability cannot be promoted, either. At present, as the global, national and our Party's conditions have undergone historical changes, we are required to carefully summarize successful practices of and valuable experience in macro management since the 18th CPC National Congress, firmly grasp new requirements for new tasks in the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics and new changes in the principal contradiction facing our society, and allocate the functions of macro-management departments in a reasonable way. The Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Deepening the Reform of the Party and State Institutions (hereinafter referred to as the "Decision") requires that we should set the responsibilities and powers of macro management departments in a scientific manner, strengthen the formulation of national development strategies and plan system functions in a unified way, give better play to the guiding role of national strategies and plans; improve macro regulation system, develop new regulation methods, and build policy coordination and collaboration mechanism in development planning, fiscal and financial terms.  

Further streamline administration and delegate power to the lower levels, which is the key to the transformation of government functions. Over the 40 years after the reform and opening-up, China has continued to push on with the administrative system reform. Basically, it is to hand the matters which should not be under the management of the government over to the market or society and well manage those which should be under the management of the government through the separation of the functions of the government from those of enterprises, state assets management authorities, public institutions and market-based intermediaries. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee and State Council have taken the reform of "Streamlining Administration, Delegating Power and Strengthening Regulation and Improving Services" as a breakthrough point of the transformation of government functions, and greatly reduced administrative examination and approval items. Remarkable results have been obtained. The reform of State Council institutions has continued to place high importance on further streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels. The Decision requires that we should reduce micro-management issues and specific approval matters, minimize the government's direct allocation of market resources, minimize the government's direct intervention in market activities, raise the efficiency and fairness of resource allocation and stimulate the vitality of various market players.  

Improve market supervision and law enforcement system. It is an important task for building a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities. Market supervision and administrative law enforcement account for the largest proportion in daily administrative activities of administrative organs. They are the main means to enforce laws and regulations and manage economic and social affairs according to the law and important ways to achieve government functions. The Decision requires that we should reform and rationalize the market regulation system, integrate regulatory functions, strengthen supervision and coordination and form a market supervision synergy. Deepen the reform of the administrative law enforcement system, make overall arrangements for the functions of administrative penalties and law enforcement resources, relatively concentrate the power of administrative punishment, integrate and streamline the ranks of law enforcement personnel, and solve the problem of multi-channel, multi-layer and repeated law enforcement.  

Carry out the reform of natural resources and eco-environment management system. It is an institutional guarantee for building a beautiful China. In the report of the 19th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping included ensuring harmony between human and nature in the 14 points of the basic policy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, took the building China into a beautiful country as a major goal of fully building a modern socialist country and put forward that we should resolutely overcome difficulties in pollution prevention and control. In order to solve prominent environment problems, the current "multi-channel" management system in the field of resources and environment must be reformed. The Decision requires that we should implement the strictest eco-environment protection system, and build an environmental governance system with government as the mainstay, enterprises as the main body, social organizations and the public as participants, so as to provide an institutional guarantee for the construction of ecological civilization. Establish regulatory agencies to manage state-owned natural resource assets and monitor natural ecosystems; improve eco-environmental management systems; and perform the duties of the owner of public-owned natural resource assets, the duties of regulating the use of all territorial space and protecting and restoring ecosystems, and the duties of monitoring the discharge of all pollutants in urban and rural areas and conducting administrative law enforcement in a unified way. 

Improve the public service management system. Basic public services are the main content of modern government governance which influence not only the guarantee and improvement of people's livelihood, but also public support and ruling foundation. The Decision requires that we should improve the public service system, promote the equalization, inclusiveness and convenience of basic public services, and push on with the unification of basic public service systems in urban and rural areas. Government departments should shift their focus from simply focusing on the development of public utilities in this industry to creating more equitable opportunities and fair environments, so as to promote public resources to extend to the grassroots, cover rural areas and be tilted in favor of the masses in remote areas and people living in difficulty, and promote the entire society to benefit from equal opportunities and rights. Strengthen and optimize the government's functions in social security, education and culture, legal service, health and medical insurance, so as to better safeguard and improve the people's livelihood. 

Strengthen in-process and ex-post supervision. Shift the focus from prior approval to in-process and ex-post supervision. It is a major shift of China's government governance ideas and modes. The Decision requires that we should change the administrative mode of attaching excessive emphasis on approval procedures while paying insufficient attention to regulatory processes, and shift more administrative resources from prior approval to in-process and ex-post supervision. Develop new ways of conducting oversight, comprehensively push on with the oversight through inspections by randomly selected inspectors of randomly selected entities, the public release of inspection results, and "Internet Plus Regulation"; speed up the sharing of government regulatory information, effectively enhance transparency, strengthen supervision over people's life and property safety, take the initiative to develop new technologies, new industries, new formats and new modes, and increase the effect of regulation and law enforcement. 

Improve administrative efficiency. In order to build a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities, it is a necessary requirement to comprehensively improve government efficiency and enhance government credibility and administrative capacity. The Decision requires that we should delicately set up government departments at all levels and their internal organs, allocate their power scientifically, reduce the number of institutions, simplify intermediate levels, and promote flat management, so that a top-down and highly efficient organizational system can be formed. We should clarify responsibilities, carry out strict performance management and administrative accountability, strengthen daily performance assessment, establish and improve the system of rewards and punishments. We should break down "information silos", unify the types, standards, scopes and processes of information sharing in all departments and speed up the sharing of government information and communication among departments. We should improve working methods and increase service level. We should improve our working style, and resolutely overcome the formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. The comprehensive and powerful of institutional reform will be bound to significantly increase the administrative efficiency, credibility and administrative capacity of governments at all levels.  


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