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Government think-tank unveiled
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-08 22:28

How might grass-roots complaints and suggestions reach top government decision-makers in a quicker and more efficient way?

How can State Council leaders and high-ranking government officials keep in close touch with all sections of society and the public?

The State Council Counsellors' Office, as a government advisory and consultant body, has pledged to play a bigger role in carrying public common concerns and complaints to top decision-makers.

"The establishment of government counsellors' offices was a pioneering concept in New China when the nation was founded in 1949,'' Cui Zhanfu, director of the State Council Counsellors' Office, said Thursday in Beijing.

Now, the country has 41 government counsellors' offices at different levels. More than 1,000 scholars, specialists and celebrities are on staff and are influential and highly capable of participating in State affairs, Cui said.

As counsellors, their common appointment term runs five years, and many make constructive proposals and soundly advise governments.

He Kaiyin, a counsellor with East China's Anhui Province government and a researcher on agricultural issues, has helped promote the launch of the reform of rural fees into taxes in 2000.

In his late 60s, He has set his foot on many farm lands and villages in the province in recent years and become a spokesman for rural people.

He has called for the establishment of a unified taxation system and opening up of the grain market.

"Since income from selling grains fail to cover costs and the fees and tax burdens on farmers have become increasingly heavy, farmers have become the poorest group in the country and have to pay taxes for the rich,'' He writes in one of his reports.

His reports and studies have led to State Council inspectors' visits to certain rural areas and trials in which fees were transformed into taxes in Taihe County of Anhui Province in 1994.

The State Council has also received many important references and advice from government counsellors.

For example, following some counsellors' advise, the State Council issued an emergency regulation for the management of medical trash during the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic last year.

Hired by governments as individual researchers -- representing no parties or departments -- government counsellors have an express way to reach top decision-makers, more freely and faster than people from other "think tanks" and consulting departments, Cui said.

Governments also organize study trips for those counsellors to see key research projects.

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