Home / China / Government

China's route to building people's well-being

Updated: 2014-11-11 21:22 (chinadaily.com.cn)

China's route to building people's well-being

Editor's Note: At the APEC conference, President Xi Jinping has said that to comprehensively deepen reform, China needs to stimulate the market vitality, broaden the path for innovation, advance opening-up at a higher standard, as well as improve people's well-being and promote social equity and justice. Below are the reforms the nation has undertaken since the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held in November 2013:

Green Innovation

China's route to building people's well-being

The central government named ecological civilization as an important characteristic of a modern country, along with the development of the economy, politics, society and culture. After reaping the population dividend, China will turn to innovation for sustainable growth.

Lawmakers revised the Environmental Protection Law to make it easier for people to sue polluters and more expensive for polluters to discharge pollutants. Environmental quality has become an important standard for assessing the performance of local governments.

The environmental protection and new energy industries have also become important boosters of China's economic growth.

In September, the central authorities strengthened the administration and supervision of the special fund for science and technology research and decided one month later to open State-owned science and technology research facilities and equipment to public use.

Continuous Opening-up

China's route to building people's well-being

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone created last year is a test bed in which to explore the opening-up of more markets, including the capital market, as well as industries for foreign investment. It will also explore new measures that support international trade and rules that make doing business in China easier.

The Chinese government will implement a "negative list" model to restrict its own power and interference with the market, giving the market and society more freedom and space to evolve according to their own rules.

China will continue to reach out to the world and establish an open economic system. The Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road proposal and a series of actions taken by China to promote regional integration and facilitate free trade reflect the country's will to further integrate globally.

Social Security

China's route to building people's well-being

China has already created the largest basic social security net in the world, covering one-fifth of the global population with pension benefits, medical care and education. More than 300 million migrant workers are entitled to basic social insurance and various public services in the cities where they work and live. Filling the gap between the rural and urban welfare systems will be a key task for local governments in the near future as China's population will be aging fast.

By 2050, more than 35 percent of China's population will be above 60 years old. How to maintain the value of China's huge pension pool will be challenge for the government. In terms of per capita wealth, China was ranked 90th in a list of 200 countries and regions in the world. As the "poorest" second-largest economy in history, China recognized the need to do more to take care of its fast-growing senior population. The central government decided to reform the family planning policy last year, allowing more couples to have more than one child under certain circumstances.

Cities, Communities

China's route to building people's well-being

By 2012, almost 53 percent of Chinese were living in urban areas. Yet, only about 30 percent of them have urban hukou, or household registration, which would give them access to the city's welfare benefits. Because urbanizing the population requires the government to lift controls on the hukou system, the central authority passed a landmark guideline on hukou reform in early June. In the reform, cities are divided into different classes, and migrant workers can easily obtain hukou in middle-size and small cities after fulfilling certain conditions. The big cities will retain tight control over their hukou quotas, partially to ease the already heavy population and environmental pressures. But there are clear rating systems in different big cities for hukou applicants. Migrant workers now have a clear vision of how to obtain an urban hukou in big cities.

Culture Development

China's route to building people's well-being

The central government passed an action plan on the reform of China's cultural system in February. Cultural industries have been earmarked as pillar industries of strategic importance for China's national economy. The cultural industries are largely free of pollution. Their added value mainly comes from innovative ideas and successful marketing, which China needs to stoke its economic growth.

The central authorities have stressed that the cultural industries should inspire the people to be creative and innovative, serve the country's spiritual needs and be conducive to the improvement of morality and public ethics.

China's traditional culture and the Internet industries occupy important positions in the central government's cultural development plan.

Media reform also appears in the reform agenda set by the central authorities. China will set up several powerful and influential media groups.

Central Leading Team Coordinates Reform

China's route to building people's well-being

The central government established a central leading team for reform late last year. The team is led by State leaders and made up of heads of ministries, commissions and departments. The team is expected to propose action plans to implement some 60 reforms in various fields prescribed in the overall reform plan made by the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November 2013.

To some extent, the team is an important and powerful coordinator of the different ministries. The action plans passed by the team will be reviewed and approved by the State Council, China's Cabinet, to become a guideline or policy for the government system to execute.

The State Council and the central leading team for reform have issued important plans, guidelines and policies collectively since late last year as follows, mostly concerning people's livelihood and the restriction of powers. These documents are crucial to translating reform from words into deeds:

• Dec 25, 2013

State Council — Reform family planning policy

• Jan 2, 2014

State Council — Village reform and modern agriculture

• Feb 14

State Council — Delegate government powers

• Feb 17

State Council — Reform business capital registration

• Feb 24

State Council — Build national basic pension insurance net

• Feb 28

Central leading team — Reform cultural system

• Jun 6

Central leading team — Reform hukou system

Central leading team — Reform judicial system

Central leading team — Reform intellectual property rights protection system

Central leading team — Reform academician system

Central leading team — Reform fiscal and tax system

• Jun 30

CPC Central Committee — Reform Party disciplinary inspection system

• Mid-July

State Council — Reform and the use of government cars

• Aug 18

Central leading team — Reform State-owned enterprise leaders' payments

Central leading team — Media reform and convergence

Central leading team — Reform college entrance exam and enrollment system

• Late August

CPC Central Committee — Reform Party institutional construction

• Sept 29

Central leading team — Land reform in rural areas

Central leading team — Reform science and technology research fund system

• Oct 9

State Council — Reform government budget administration system

• Oct 27

Central leading team — Promote reforms in China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone

Central leading team — Open science and technology research equipment to society