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The History and Developing Trend on China’s Air Defense Missile System

The growth of China’s aerospace military in 2007 was astonishing, and at the same time, worrisome to some countries. Last year, Beijing sent ballistic missiles to destroy an aged meteorological satellite and launched their first lunar probe, the Chang’e 1. At the same time, China was planning to link up with Russia to explore Mars. Recently the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) has released news that China plans to launch 15 rockets, 17 satellites, and one manned spaceflight in 2008.

On December 12, 2007, Outlook Weekly, an economic and political weekly magazine run by the Xinhua News Agency, published an article titled “The Developing Trend of China’s Air Defense Missile System.” The author, Liu Erqi, is the chief of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee from the Second Research Institute of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. The following are translated excerpts of his article. [1]
“Under strict attention from the Party and national leaders, China’s air defense missile system has gone through 50 years of difficult struggle. The Second Research Institute has grown out of the Fifth Research Institute under the Ministry of Defense, with additional experts from other civil and military agencies. The institute is primarily responsible for developing the air defense missile systems. The early technologies were introduced and replicated from the former Soviet Union. Since then, the institute has developed a missile defense system based on its own design, along with learning from other countries’ research results. … Up to the 1990s, the system had developed into a multiple air defense missile weapon system, including three altitudes (high, medium, and low altitude) and four series (medium-to-high altitude, low-to-medium altitude, ultra low-to-low altitude, and portable) of air defense missile weapon systems.

“Currently, the R&D department of the institute is actively upgrading the missile weapons, as well as perfecting the weapon system in long, intermediate, and short ranges. Long range refers to 250 km and above; intermediate range refers to 50 km to 200 km; short range refers to 30 km and below. They are paving the road for developing a digital air defense network.”

“The fist generation air defense missiles, Hongqi No. 1 and No. 2, had the capability of medium-to-high altitude targets. We also developed Hongqi No. 61 that targets low-to-medium objects and Hongying No. 5 portable missiles.”

“In the 1970s, China started to develop its second-generation air defense missile system, while other countries already started R&D for third-generation air defense missile systems. Therefore, our product was a combination of the second- and third-generation from the technological point of view. It is more appropriate to call it a post-second-generation air defense missile system.

“The main characteristics of the second-generation technology include low-altitude capability, small-sized missiles and systems, solidified missile propulsion system, mini-sized electronic devices, and decreased vehicular needs for carrying the weapons.
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“The main characteristics of the third-generation technology include anti-guidance air defense systems, improved anti-interference capability, further smaller-sized missiles, multi-target capability, and a multi-weapon coordination system.

“Upon borrowing the technologies used for the Patriot-1, SA-10, Javelin, and Crotale missiles from the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France, China developed Qianwei portable missiles, and FM-80 and FM-90 low-altitude short-range missiles. After that, we developed the third-generation medium-to-high altitude, intermediate-and-long-range air defense missile FD-2000.

“It was worthwhile to mention that in the 1980s, the Taiwan area of China, under the help of the United States, developed the Tiangong No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 air defense missiles modeled from the Patriot missiles of the United States.”

“The air defense missile system was only one type of weapon to protect the China’s air space. Other important directions for developing air defense weapons include guided air-defense artillery shells and laser weapons.”

Endnote:
[1] Outlook Weekly Article: The Developing Trend of China’s Air Defense Missile System, December, 12, 2007
http://news.sohu.com/20071212/n254000272.shtml

The Media Pays Attention to Human Rights at the Doorstep of the Beijing Olympics

During the months before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the media is paying attention to China’s human rights. On December 27, 2007, the Beijing Public Securities Department arrested Hu Jia, a respected AIDS activist and human rights defender on the charge of “inciting the subversion of state power.” Hu’s wife and their newly born baby are under house arrest. Intellectuals and human rights defenders in China co-signed an open letter to urge the authorities to release Hu. The non-governmental organization for freedom of the press, Reporters Without Borders in France issued a statement condemning the Chinese government for violating its commitment to be open to the foreign media for the Olympics, and for obstructing lawyers from visiting and supplying legal aid to Hu and his family.

From Voice of America, January 8, 2008 [1]

“A large number of Chinese intellectuals and human rights defenders issued a statement urging the release of human rights attorney Hu Jia, who the Beijing Public Securities Department arrested on December 27, 2007, for “inciting the subversion of state power.” Hu Jia’s lawyer and other Beijing’s human rights attorneys expressed that Hu indeed talked about many human rights problems in China, but that did not mean he should be suspected of ‘inciting the subversion of state power.’”

“On Monday, more than 60 scholars, intellectuals and human rights advocates, including Liu Xiaobo, Zhang Zuhua, Ai Xiaoming, Wang Lixiong and Wei Se, co-signed a statement urging the authorities to release Hu Jia as soon as possible. These intellectuals and scholars call for people inside and outside of China to pay attention to Hu Jia’s personal health and his family’s predicament. The statement also called for the international community and all circles within China to pay close attention both to China’s human rights stance and to whether the Chinese government fulfilled its promise made when it bid for the Olympic Games: to improve human rights.”

From Radio Free Asia, January 11, 2008, [2]

“While the arrest of Hu Jia attracts widespread attention from China and overseas, the Beijing authorities tightly block the relevant information. On Friday, a UK TV broadcaster, Channel 4, went to Hu Jia’s home in Beijing and managed to interview his wife, Zeng Jinyan, through a barred window for a few minutes on tape. The reporter, Lindsey Hilsum, told RFA: ‘She (Zeng Jinyan) appeared at the window when we arrived. I asked about her current situation, what happened when Hu Jia was arrested on January 27, and whether she had any resources for living. That’s basically it.’

“Jinyan, under house arrest with her new-born baby, faced the camera and said the police had cut her telephone line, and took her computer, mobile phone and bank card. Her mother is able to go and buy food, but they’re running out of cash. Friends who try to bring things for the baby are blocked from giving them to her.”

“To protect their video clips, the TV crew quickly left before the police arrived. They attempted to go to Hu’s home on Thursday, but the police wouldn’t allow it, using the excuse that it was an ongoing criminal investigation. Hilsum said, ‘When we visited yesterday, they had a security line marked around the apartment compound. The police said that there was a criminal case being investigated inside and nobody was allowed to enter. Therefore today we approached the building from the side.”

“Not only do the authorities block the overseas media, but two attorneys Li Jingsong and Li Fangping were prohibited from conducting their interview with Zeng Jinyan, which had been scheduled for Friday.

“It was learned that on Thursday, the authorities placed Li Jinsong under house arrest for several hours  in order to conduct “recommendations and communication.” When reporters inquired, the lawyer was, for the time being, unwilling to say much.  

Headquartered in Paris, France, Reporters Without Borders issued a second statement on Friday to condemn the Chinese government’s violation of its commitment to be open to foreign media for the Olympics, and its obstruction of lawyers’ visits and legal aid to Hu’s family.”
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On January 1, 2008, more than 10,000 Chinese citizens publicized an open letter appealing for the Chinese government’s ratification of the “International Convention on Civil Rights and Political Rights” before the Olympics. Here is a report on this issue from Voice of America, January 1, 2008. [3]
“Co-signed by more than 14,000 professors and lawyers, the open letter stated that as all eyes are turning to the Beijing Olympics, the government’s ratification of the ‘International Convention on Civil Rights and Political Rights’ will win the world’s respect and glory for China.

“The open letter said that by hosting the Olympics, China should show not only the numbers of gold medals, but also the ‘the determination to fulfill its commitment to respect and defend human rights.’

“Although China signed the ‘International Convention on Civil Rights and Political Rights’ in 1998, China’s National People’s Congress has yet to ratify the Convention.

“The open letter urges the State Council to bring up the agenda to the People’s Congress to be in session in March 2008, so that the Convention will be unconditionally ratified before the Olympics.”

“Xia Yeliang, a co-signor of the letter and Peking University Economics Professor, said that the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party’s report emphasized administrative reform, and some democratic elections within the party or grass-roots democratic elections. However, if the reform does not touch the fundamental political system, or restructure the political and legal framework, there is no way for the Chinese people to truly obtain political freedom and rights.

“One of the initiators of the open letter, Beijing’s human rights defender and lawyer Teng Biao stated, ‘One of my personal concerns is that, when the Chinese government ratifies the Convention, it will refuse to take the concrete steps required by the convention to achieve systemic reform. Like many other conventions, the Chinese government may approved it, but never implement it.”

Endnotes:
1. VOA News, January 8, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-08-voa21.cfm
2. RFA, January 11, 2008
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2008/01/11/hu/
3. VOA News, January 1, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-01-voa16.cfm

On Belarus and China

Economic and trade cooperation between Belarus and China has been strengthening, as Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko welcomes massive foreign direct investment from China. Analysts believe that Belarus needs capital from China to assuage current difficulties accompanying increased prices on oil imports from Russia. Belarus under Alexander Lukashenko remains a Soviet-style planned economy. For a sense of hope, Belarus is looking to the China model, a highly centralized political system together with an economy marked by high growth. At the same time, the two countries are building closer military collaboration.

Report from Voice of America on January 9, 2008: [1]
“President Lukashenko of Belarus said on Wednesday that huge potential exists for collaboration with China in areas of the economy, trade, and investment and that Belarus will create the best conditions to welcome investment from China. He added that his country has felt enormous interest from Chinese investors in the Belarusian economy, and that there will be not be a single obstacle to Chinese investment. Lukashenko gave the above speech when meeting with Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China’s central bank. President Lukashenko also thanked China for providing support and help. He said that Belarus will become a real fortress for China in Europe. Lukashenko stressed that RMB has become the foreign exchange reserve currency at Belarus’ central bank.

“Russian media reported that after Putin’s government significantly raised the export price of oil and eliminated economic subsidies to Belarus, Belarus has been facing a series of problems. This has lead Lukashenko to actively cooperate with China, Iran, and Venezuela, so as to obtain more resources to procure energy from Russia. Therefore, high-level Chinese official visits are always welcomed and are conducted in a high-profile fashion.

“Former President of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich criticized Lukashenko for not conducting economic reform and allowing the economy to remain as a Soviet-style planned economy. He added, ‘the leadership of Belarus governs the country as a farmer on collective farms. For many years, the economy is heavily dependent upon cheap energy from Russia. Lukashenko is bringing the whole country to a dead end with an anti-market economic policy.’”

Report from Voice of America on October 26, 2006: [2]

“China and Belarus have been increasing their military cooperation. Belarusian President Lukashenko recently expressed that arms trade between the two countries is very important. On cooperation in military technologies, Belarus signed 210 agreements or contracts with China, with 190 of them implemented. According to the Defense Ministry of Belarus, the size of the bilateral arms trade amounts to 250 million U.S. dollars over the past 10 years. The figure, although very small compared to the arms trade between China and Russia, is very important to Belarus.”
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“In mid-September, Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan led a large delegation to Belarus. Cao was treated with a high standard of hospitality. President Lukashenko issued a ‘People’s Friendship Medal’ to Cao, complimenting his outstanding contributions in supporting the sharing of military technology between the two countries. During the four-day visit, Belarus displayed for the Chinese delegation everything they wanted to see, including newly developed weaponry. A large group of Chinese experts are also part of the China delegation to Belarus. This is a sign that the two sides are discussing details of arms trade deals. According to Belarusian Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev, Belarus has submitted a package of plans for implementing this military and technological cooperation. Once the China side has responded, the plans can be carried out before the end of next year.”

“Military experts believe that Belarus is more proactive than China on the issue of arms trade.”

“Russian media reported that Belarus is promoting a newly developed super short range air-defense missile system which is used to attack precision cruise missiles in their last leg of flight. … Additionally, the Chinese military is also interested in Belarus’ mobile radar system, automatic power control system, etc.”

“Belarus hopes to alleviate its isolated predicament on the international stage by sharing China’s military technology. The Lukashenko regime is deemed as the last dictatorship on the European continent. The United States and the European Union are imposing various sanctions against Belarus while its key ally, Russia, has recently pressured Lukashenko for political and economic benefits. Under the current situation, Lukashenko announced China as its primary foreign policy target in his spring State of the Union message, delivered earlier this year. He complimented China for supporting Belarus on many issues.”

“During Lukashenko’s visit to China at the end of last year, the two countries agreed to set up a bilateral military equipment and technology coordination commission. The two sides also decided to strengthen cooperation and exchange in military science and technology, including joint R&D on weaponry. At present, dozens of People’s Liberation Army officers are accepting advanced training in Belarus.”

Endnotes:
[1] Voice of America, January 9, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-09-voa42.cfm
[2] Voice of America, October 26, 2006
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/archive/2006-10/w2006-10-26-voa35.cfm

Innocent Victim Beaten to Death after Filming City Officer’s Violence

Wei Wenhua, the manager of a water resources construction company in Tianmen City, Hubei Province, was beaten to death on January 7, 2008, by dozens of Municipal Law Enforcement officers known as chengguan in Tianmen, Hubei. He was beaten after using his mobile phone camera to film the officers in a violent clash with protesters. The death of Wei triggered an outrage from local residents. Municipal Law Enforcement chief Qi Zhengjun was fired because of Wei’s death. This is one of the few cases where Chinese official media covered social injustice and large scale unrest in a high profile way.

The following are excerpts from articles published in domestic and overseas Chinese language media.

On January 11, 2008, Chengdu Daily reported that,[1]

“Tianmen is a mid-sized city in the Wuhan metropolitan area, with a population of 280,000. Although the city generates more than 10, 600 cubic meters of trash every day, the city has to bury the trash in the open as it has no trash management facilities. In 2005, the Environment Protection Bureau signed a two-year contract with the village committee of Wanba in the suburbs of Tianmen to assign two fish ponds for burying the cities’ trash.

“Villagers living near the ponds did not agree with dumping trash into the ponds because of the strong foul smells, swarms of mosquitoes and flies, and deterioration of the water quality. Starting from January 1, 2008, the villagers blocked the garbage trucks from entering the area.

“Around 3 pm on January 7, the villagers blocked the garbage truck again. Around 5 pm, staffers of the local Environment Protection Bureau reported this to the chief of the Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau, who sent more than 50 officers to the spot. The officers, also known as chengguan, confronted the villagers. Several villagers were hurt during the fight.”

“According to Wang Liangfa, Vice Mayor of Tianmen and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party of Tianmen city, the Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau has 80 formal officers, all of whom were hired following a process of competitive examinations. Wang testified that those who participated in the fight on the 7th were all official employees.

“Around 5:10 pm, Wei Wenhua, General Manager of the Tianmen Water Conservancy Construction Company, was driving back to downtown Tianmen city with the company’s party chief, Wang Shutang. Because the confrontation blocked traffic Wei got out of the car and taped the clash with his camera phone.

“According to Wang Shutang, while taping the incident, Wei was surrounded and beaten by a dozen of the chengguan. Wei lifted his arms and the chengguan grabbed his camera phone away. They attacked him for five minutes.

Wang recounted that the chengguan beat Wei from the east side of the road to the center of the road, and then from the center to the west side of the road, until Wei collapsed. Because Wei was not breathing, Wang asked the chengguan to send Wei to the hospital. According to the doctor at Tianmen First People’s Hospital, Wei was already dead when he arrived at the hospital.

“At present, over 100 related personnel, including Qi Zhengjun, Deputy Secretary-General of the city government and chief of the Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau are under investigation. The Public Security Bureau has charged 24 suspects and detained four on criminal charges.”

Xinhua News Agency reported on January 12, [2]

“Currently, (the Public Security Bureau) has detained four suspects on criminal charges including Sun Daibang, chief of Discipline Inspection of the Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau. Qi Zhengjun, Deputy Secretary-General of the city government and chief of The Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau was fired and is under investigation.”

Radio Free Asia reported on January 11 that, [3]

“After Wei was beaten to death, hundreds of villagers and Wei’s relatives took his body to the Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau, and then paraded to the city government office. The body was placed in front of the city government building, and thousands of people surrounded the building. The government, fearing the situation would get out of control, decided to snatch the body. According to Wei’s relatives, more than 100 fire fighters, military police, special police, and plain clothes police rushed to grab the body. Wei’s family confronted them and attempted to protect the body. Finally the police succeeded in seizing the body.”

In an article from Voice of America on January 10, [4]

“Critics said that violent enforcement of the law has been abhorred by the Chinese people, but nothing could be done about it. This type of direct violation of citizens’ personal freedoms and even life has become common practice. These cases are not newsworthy in China.

“When the law enforcement personnel use violence against the public, China’s official media usually play down the story. However, beating Wei Wenhua to death for merely filming the violence of the law enforcement officers triggered enormous anger among the people. This time, official media reacted quite differently in from the past.”

“Qing Geng, a Chinese writer, said that the anger shown by official media is quite funny. It sounds as if this type of violence by law enforcement officers is something foreign, instead of the regular occurrence that it is in China.”

“He added, knowingly violating the law is not a new phenomenon. Why didn’t the official media express anger? Why does it come so late?”
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“Observers pointed out that although the official media responded to the death of Wei Wenhua, it has been avoiding a critical issue: the key to the violation of basic human rights of the Chinese people by chengguan or government/party officials is that the power of the party/government is not subject to public constraint and scrutiny.”

Endnotes:
[1] Chengdu Daily, January 11, 2008
http://www.newssc.org/gb/Newssc/meiti/cdrb/gnyw/userobject10ai1368436.html
[2] Xinhua News Agency, January 12, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-01/12/content_7411213.htm
[3] Radio Free Asia, January 11, 2008
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2008/01/11/chengguan/
[4] Voice of America, January 10, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-10-voa44.cfm

Demolition of a Symbolic Bulletin Board, the Sanjiaodi, at Peking University

On October 30, a bulletin board, once called the Democracy Wall and also called Sanjiaodi, at Peking University was demolished. The wall witnessed decades of significant historical events of Chinese history. Its demolition has received both local and international media attention.

The Beijing News reported on November 11, 2007:[1]
“Students of Peking University get information on housing/room rentals, lectures, and job openings through the Sanjiaodi bulletin board. Looking for information at Sanjiaodi has become a characteristic of Peking University. Student organizations will put out display boards at Sanjiaodi to announce campus community news.

"Mr. Wu from class of ’99 said that the Sanjiaodi is famous because it’s a place for information sharing and cultural exchange. Wu added, “Having such symbolic role, how can it be demolished so lightly? We cannot forget her place in our heart.”

Xinhua News Agency reported on the same day: [2]
“Peking University’s news spokesperson Zhao Weimin indicated that, the Sanjiaodi bulletin board had been around for many years. The demolition is due to regulation of the campus environment.

"Zhao said with the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games, the campus environment needs an overall renovation. This bulletin board, which was a platform for information dissemination, is not functioning as it should, as it mostly posts housing rentals and other advertisements. As the campus computer network is well developed, information exchange can be done through the network. He said the future site plan for the Sanjiaodi is under discussion.”

Voice of America reported on December 29, 2007: [3]
“Zhao Yong, a Beijing Normal University professor raised a question in his recent article: What is really being demolished at Sanjiaodi? Zhao’s article, in addition to mentioning several concerns regarding the demolition, asked a few more questions: Who made the proposal? Who authorized the demolition? What procedure was followed? Why wasn’t the discussion disclosed? Zhao questions, ‘Isn’t that Sanjiaodi, although no longer a platform for exchange of pure ideas and thoughts, a reflection of an important cultural phenomenon with the contents switching to overwhelming commercial information?’

"Zhao further connected the demolition to the Chinese regime’s ideology of ‘destroying an old world and building a new world.’ In 1957, despite the opposition from renowned architect Liang Sicheng, the Chinese regime dismantled the ancient city wall of Beijing. … In order to build a new Beijing and a new Olympics, Beijing is also making an all out effort to demolish Siheyuan. [4] Not only Beijing, all the cities around the country are demolishing and rebuilding, giving up traditional characteristics."
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An article titled ”Peking University’s Sanjiaodi Bulletin Board Fades Out in History” was published by Zaobao (Singapore) on November 12, 2007: [5]
“The demolition of Sanjiaodi did not stir any reaction among the students. If the media had not reported, it would have gone unnoticed.”

“One Peking University graduate of the class of 1981 said that back then all the students would take a look at the bulletin board when they passed by. At that time, there was only one television for each dormitory building. With very few newspapers and magazines available, Sanjiaodi, was on the only way to the classrooms, became part of campus life.”

“The removal of Sanjiaodi is not only for political reasons. Starting from the 1990s, when the Internet became popular, the bulletin board function of Sanjiaodi was replaced by the Internet. A few political dissidents who once studied at Peking University, including several human rights attorneys and political commentators, have  expressed their opinions mostly through the Internet instead of Sanjiaodi.”

“However, the BBS site Yitahutu, through which Peking University students discuss current affairs, fell in the battle earlier than Sanjiaodi. Yitahutu, established in 1999, gained immediate popularity among the students. Its ‘Sanjiaodi‘ online section (following the name of the bulletin board) was famous for free discussion of political affairs. When the site was shut down in 2004, Peking University lost the platform for free expression.”

“Since the university computer network is well developed, any information exchanged or discussed can be done through the network.”

Nanfang Daily reported reactions from students on November 2, 2007: [6]
“The demolition made a great stir at mitbbs.com. [7] Many students raised questions: who proposed the demolition? Who authorized this? What procedure was followed? Why is everyone in the dark?”

“‘The Weiming Lake, Yabo Tower, Jingyuan Grass Land, and Sanjiaodi are all symbols of Peking University. How can it be casually demolished? Will Yabo Tower be torn down tomorrow?’ asked some students emotionally.”

“October 31 on the BBS, an extensive discussion appeared to be against the demolition. Most people were against the demolition with very few showing support.”
{mospagebreak}
“Many students voiced their opinion that the Democracy Wall has both spiritual and historical significance and their opinion should have been sought and respected before any decision for the demolition was made.

"An internet user said that ‘Sanjiaodi was already dead, but a dead Sanjiaodi still has its historical significance and a special place. How can it be casually destroyed?’

"It’s reported that an electronic board would replace the demolished wall. However many feel that this means the Peking University’s administration will have full control over the information on display and hence restrict any free exchange of information."

Endnotes:
[1] Beijing News, November 11, 2007
http://www.thebeijingnews.com/news/beijing/2007/11-01/011@082357.htm
[2] Xinhua News Agency, Novemerb 11, 2007
http://news.xinhuanet.com/edu/2007-11/01/content_6986454.htm
[3] Voice of America, December 29, 2007
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2007-12-29-voa1.cfm
[4] Siheyuan (四合院) was a type of residence commonly found throughout China, but most famously in Beijing. The name literally means a courtyard surrounded by four buildings. Throughout Chinese history, the siheyuan composition was the basic pattern used for residences, palaces, temples, monasteries, family dwellings, businesses, and government offices. The history of Siheyuan goes as early as the Western Zhou period (1122 BC to 256 BC). Siheyuan carries the most outstanding and fundamental characteristics of Chinese architecture.
[5] Zaobao, November 12, 2007
http://www.zaobao.com/special/newspapers/2007/11/taiwan071112c.html
[6] Nanfang Daily, November 2, 2007
http://www.nanfangdaily.cn/southnews/jwxy/200711020505.asp
[7] A popular online BBS for Chinese students.

On China’s Newest Administrative Reform

During the Chinese Communist Party’s (NCCCP) 17th National Congress, the party chief Hu Jintao said the party would “step up our efforts to streamline government agencies, explore ways to establish expanded departments with integrated functions, and improve the mechanisms for coordination and collaboration between government departments.” [1] A plan for the sixth administrative reform, called the “greater departments system,” is now under evaluation and will be sent to the State Council.

The followings are excerpts from the Epoch Times report on January 15. [2]
“The ‘greater departments system’ refers to having one single department to conduct the central administration of all state affairs that have similar functions and scope of business in the framework of government bodies. The benefits of this system are: avoiding the overlapping of government and multi-level management, improving administrative efficiency, and lowering administrative costs.

Although the news of combining of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) at the end of 2007 was negated, Zheng Xinli — deputy director of Policy Research Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (PROCCCCP) — said that a greater department was considered to have been established for the financial sector.

Signs indicate that the ‘greater departments system’ brought up in Hu Jintao’s Report to the 17th NCCCP will be the focus of China’s reform in 2008.

There have been reports that the State Council will set up a Ministry of Energy to consolidate the energy related functions from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the Ministry of Water Resources (MW and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC). The new Ministry will also administer the state-owned energy giants such as China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corporation (SINOPEC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).

Experts predict that if the Ministry of Energy will be established, a new round of reshuffling of administrative officials will occur during the Two Conferences (the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) in March.

The Chinese government’s administration cost is gigantic. Under the State Council, in additional to the General Office, there are 28 Cabinet Ministries, one special agency, 18 Departments directly under The State Council, 4 Offices under That State Council, 10 State Bureau Administrations under various Ministries and Commissions, 14 Institutions directly under The State Council, and more than 100+ coordination agencies.
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In contrast, there are only 13 Cabinet departments in the U.S. and 12 ministries in Japan. German’s Bundesregierung (Federal Cabinet) is composed of 15 ministries and Her Majesty’s Government in the UK has 18 ministries. The number of ministries in China doubles or even triples those in some other nations. The huge management cost is as high as ten fold other governments, with a gigantic number of public servants.

However some experts doubt the effectiveness of this reform. Ren Jianming, the director of the Anti-Corruption and Governance Research Center at Tsinghua University said, "It seems that five years has become a cycle for government reform. The 1998 and 2003 reforms, which were centered around streamlining these agencies, failed to stop the cycle of expansion-after-streamlining. The ‘greater departments system’ is faces the same problem.

It’s said that the biggest issue that faces the ‘greater departments system’ reform is how to prevent the concentration of power and the consequent corruptions.

Fan Yafeng, a fellow at the Law Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Science believes that the ‘greater departments system’ reform belongs to administrative reform, while the transformation of the functions of the government is the deeper issue. The reform that the government needs is to be under the rule of law. The expansion of the powers of the government together with the distribution of the rights to taxation and fiscal expenditure need to be processed under the rule of law too.”

Endnotes:
[1] Full text of Hu Jintao’s Report to Seventeenth National Congress of Chinese Communist Party on October 15, 2007
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-10/24/content_6938749.htm
[2] The Epoch Times, January 15, 2008
http://epochtimes.com/gb/8/1/15/n1977583.htm

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