China Unveils New Cabinet amid Function Reform
   2013-03-17 23:33:52    Xinhua      Web Editor: Wang Wei

China's new cabinet, which was unveiled on Saturday, is expected to accelerate its functional transformation and present a new style under new Premier Li Keqiang.

Citizens expect the new cabinet members to create a favorable environment for development, provide high-quality public services and maintain social fairness and justice. All of these will set a decisive foundation for building a well-off society in an all-round way and realizing the "Chinese dream" -- the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Members of the State Council, or China's cabinet, include ministers, heads of commissions, the central bank governor and auditor-general.

With the launch of a restructuring plan, the current cabinet lineup has 25 members, two fewer than the previous one. According to legal procedures, they were nominated by the new premier, endorsed by lawmakers at the first session of the 12th National People's Congress and appointed by newly-elected President Xi Jinping.

The average age of the new cabinet members is 60, nearly three years older than the last lineup. On the whole, however, they have richer work experience in central and local departments and remarkable advantages in terms of their knowledge, education and professionalism.

All cabinet members have a college education background, an 11-percent increase over the last cabinet. In the new cabinet, one member has a junior college certificate and three are university graduates. Twenty-one members have post-graduate diplomas, accounting for nearly 85 percent, or 14 percent higher than the previous cabinet. Furthermore, their college majors are more diverse, with a remarkable increase in humanities.

The cabinet has eight new faces, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, Minister of Supervision Huang Shuxian, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming and Minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission Li Bin.

Wang Yi, who was previously director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, has also worked in the foreign ministry before, holding the posts of vice foreign minister and the Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of the ministry.

Lou Jiwei was previously chairman of the China Investment Corporation, China's sovereign wealth fund, and Central Huijin Investment Ltd. He has also served as vice finance minister and deputy secretary-general of the State Council.

Gao Hucheng was formerly the vice minister of commerce. Wang Zhengwei, Jiang Daming and Li Bin are former governors of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and east China's Shandong and Anhui provinces, respectively.

Chang Wanquan is a member of the CPC Central Military Commission. Huang Shuxian is from the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Of the 17 other members, Xu Shaoshi was previously minister of land and resources. Sixteen cabinet members kept their current posts.

Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, 64, and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun, 58, are also new state councilors. Chang is in charge of national defense construction. Guo is responsible for maintaining public security, social stability and harmony.

The new cabinet has 24 CPC members. Jiang Weixin, minister of housing and urban-rural development, and Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, are not members of the CPC Central Committee.

A great test for the new cabinet will involve transforming how the government functions and correcting defaults and overlaps in duty and work to build a well-structured, clean, efficient and service-oriented government that has scientifically defined functions and that the people are satisfied with, observers say.

Function transformation is the core of the State Council's institutional reform plan, which is not simply institutional restructuring. The transformation will mark new and significant progress in deepening China's administrative system reform.

The reform means the new cabinet will exert more efforts to overcome difficulties and problems, speed up the transformation of China's economic growth mode and achieve sustained and sound economic and social development.

In the reform plan adopted by the NPC, the Ministry of Railways has been abolished. Administrative functions pertaining to railway development planning and policies will be covered by the Ministry of Transport. The proposed China Railway Corporation will carry out the commercial function of the dismantled railway ministry.

Transport Minister Yang Chuantang, 58, kept his post. In a country with the biggest population and third-largest land area in the world, Yang faces the tough task of accelerating the construction of the country's comprehensive transport system.

The Health Ministry and the National Population and Family Planning Commission were merged into a new National Health and Family Planning Commission. The merge is aimed at improving the quality of new births and the health condition of the people. The new commission is also in charge of assessing food safety risks and formulating food safety standards.

Li Bin, 58, heads the National Health and Family Planning Commission. She is one of two female cabinet members. She was head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission in the previous cabinet and later became governor of Anhui Province, making her the only female governor in China.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has undertaken the task of laying out population development strategies, plans and policies.

Meanwhile, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission was dissolved and merged with the National Energy Administration, which is under the jurisdiction of the NDRC.

Deepening reform and achieving substantial progress in key sectors and processes will be an urgent challenge for Xu Shaoshi, the 61-year-old minister of the NDRC.

In addition to the China Marine Surveillance, the department in charge of enforcing maritime law, the regrouped National Oceanic Administration (NOA) also includes the coast guard forces of the Public Security Ministry, the fisheries law enforcement command of the Agriculture Ministry and the maritime anti-smuggling police of the General Administration of Customs.

The NOA is administered by the ministry of land and resources, headed by 60-year-old Jiang Daming. Jiang had been governor of Shandong Province for five years. He will handle the tasks of improving land resource development and carrying out maritime law enforcement to resolutely safeguard the country's oceanic rights and interests in a highly efficient way.

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