Hu's Theories
Development of the Country
Building Harmonious Society
Democratic Progress
Who's Who
Key Documents

White paper on political democracy
Updated: 2005-10-19 11:01

(2) Accelerating the Transformation of Government Functions

In line with the requirements of democratic administration, the Chinese government has accelerated its structural reform and the transformation of government functions, pressed ahead with innovations in management structures and systems, with special focus on efficiency of administration, and striven to build a clean, efficient and pragmatic government.

- Defining the administrative functions of the government in accordance with the law. Guided by the principle that things that can be handled by citizens, legal persons or other organizations independently, or be regulated by the market competition mechanism, or be solved by industrial organizations or intermediaries through self-disciplinary mechanism, shall not be solved through administrative ways by administrative organs, the relations between government and enterprise, government and the market, and government and society have been rationalized gradually, and things that the government need not bother about shall be shifted to enterprises, the market or society correspondingly.

- Deepening the reform of the system of administrative examination and approval. To solve the problem of excessive administrative examination and approval and uproot corruption, the Chinese government has pressed forward with reform of administrative examination and approval, comprehensively sorted out projects subject to administrative examination and approval, and scrapped or adjusted the examination and approval of such projects. From 2002 to 2004, the State Council eliminated or moderated 1,806 such projects in three batches. By the end of 2004, the number of projects that needed review and approval by State Council departments had been cut by 50.1 percent. In the meantime, local governments have also endeavored to streamline similar projects and standardize their conducts of examination and approval. The Chinese government will continue to deepen the reform of the system of administrative examination and approval, improve the examination and approval methods, and reinforce follow-up supervision and control, so as to build a scientific and rational mechanism of administrative management and supervision.

- Strengthening social management and public services. The Chinese government has made great efforts to improve its social management system and pattern, and maintain social order and stability to promote social justice. The State Council has promulgated 106 plans for emergency, including the Regulations on Response to Public Health Emergencies and the Regulations on Preventing and Dealing with Geological Disasters, worked out the State General Plan for Handling Public Health Emergencies, and is constantly improving its capacity to deal with all emergencies of various kinds. To make itself a better supplier of public services, the Chinese government is paying more attention to responding to the common demands of society, and gradually improving and completing its public policy and service system. In addition, it is shoring up financial support for education, science and technology, culture, public health and other social undertakings, and pushing forward the commercialization process of some public products and services in an active and steady way.

(3) Making Decisions in a Scientific and Democratic Manner

The Chinese government has kept reforming and improving its decision-making mechanism, made efforts in introducing a scientific and democratic practice in decision-making, and encouraged and expanded all forms of effective participation of the masses in government decision-making.

- Establishing a system of open administration. The Chinese government requires its subordinate departments at all levels to make public their administrative affairs as far as possible, so as to enhance the transparency of government work and guarantee the people's right to know, participate in and supervise the work of the government. In particular, it requires schools, hospitals, as well as water, power, gas, public transportation and other public departments and units that are closely related to the people's interests to adopt the system of open administration in an all-round way. In recent years, the work of the government has become more transparent with the establishment of government websites and promotion of e-government, as well as the introduction and improvement of the system of press spokesmen and the mechanism of media reporting on emergencies. Now, the Chinese government is enacting regulations to enhance the transparency of government administration with the aim to provide institutional guarantees to standardizing open administration.

- Increasing the public's participation in government legislation. By way of media publicity of drafts of laws and regulations, consultation and discussion with experts, seminars and hearings, the Chinese government has stepped up the practice of open government legislation to ensure the effective participation of the public in the work. On the basis of summing up past experience, the Implementation Outline for Pushing Forward Administration by Law in an All-Round Way has codified and improved relevant systems and mechanisms, so as to ensure that the wisdom of the masses and the will of the people are embodied in government legislation.

- Establishing a system of expert consultation, discussion and appraisal. When making important decisions, governments at all levels earnestly listen to and accept the opinions of experts. In recent years, the state has organized experts to complete several important strategic study reports on development, including the state medium- and long-term development plans for science and technology, the development plan for agricultural science and technology, the national strategy on sustainable development of water resources, and the plan for building a public health system, thus providing intellectual support for government decision-making. When formulating or revising administrative regulations, the State Council extensively solicits the opinions of experts, accepts their suggestions, and make great efforts to ensure that the regulations are in accord with reality and are practical.

- Building a system of public hearing and publicity. Public hearing and publicity are increasingly becoming a common practice adopted by governments at all levels when making decisions. The Law on Legislation, the Law on Price, the Law of Administrative Licensing, the Law on Administration of Toll Highways, and other rules and regulations include expressly specified provisions on public hearings. Some local governments have also worked out their own rules on hearings concerning administrative decision-making. In January 2002, the government departments concerned conducted a hearing on the "plan for government-guided pricing of some passenger train tickets," the first national hearing on an administrative decision in Chinese history, which attracted wide attention from the society. In recent years, several thousand hearings of various kinds have been held across the country, and the public's enthusiasm for participating in government decision-making is higher than ever before.