China to reform State Council: Large, combined ministries endorsed

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China will move to create a “big ministries system” (大部委体制) at its upcoming legislative session, combining a number of central-level ministries, commissions and departments to facilitate better formulation and execution of policy.

Three “super-ministries” will be endorsed by the First Plenary Session of the 11th National People’s Congress, due to open on March 5, reports Wily Lam in the Jamestown Organization’s China Brief. It is the beginning of a streamlining move that Lam asserts is “the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabo administration’s response to widespread criticism that the party-and-government apparatus has been ineffective in pushing down the overheated sectors of the economy to curbing corruption and administrative malaise.”

According to the report, the three super-ministries are:

Ministry of Transportation (MOT). Said to be based on the U.S. Department of Transportation, the proposed MOT will incorporate current State Council units including the Ministries of Transport and Railways, the General Administration of Civil Aviation, and the State Post Bureau.

Ministry of Energy (MOE). This mega-department will incorporate energy-related units within the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in addition to State Council units and state-controlled corporations in sectors including oil and gas, coal, electricity and nuclear energy.

Ministry of the Environment and Construction (MOEC). This eagerly anticipated mega-ministry will incorporate the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), and the Ministries of Construction, Water Resources, as well as Land and Natural Resources. MOEC will also formulate the nation’s strategies on issues ranging from global warming to the pace of urbanization.

By merging related ministries and commissions, China’s leadership is hoping to boost efficiency while answering critics who have regarded Premier Wen Jiabao as too soft on regional-level bureaucracies in his attempts to stamp down corruption and problems ranging from environmental degradation to rising inflation.