China Policy Barometer 2011 (Part II)

By English Edition Staff
Published: 2011-04-21

As China's central policy makers battle inflation, talk about shifting the country's economic development model and settle on the main goals for the next 5-year plan, we take a look at what the heads of 24 central government departments view as the most important goals and challenges facing them over the coming year. This is the second installment of a two-part series. You can view part one here and the Chinese original here.

Part II

Xu Shaoshi (徐绍史), Minister of Land and Resources

"At present and in the years to come, land is and will remain one of the key factors of socioeconomic development. It affects industrialization, urbanization, and the effort to modernize agriculture; it is not only an economic issue, but also a political issue."

--- Xu Shaoshi summarizes the situation facing land and resource management at the working conference of the Ministry of Land and Resources on January 7th, 2011.

Key phrases: Protection of agricultural land, land distribution and the rural land reclamation

Core concerns: 30 years after China's reform and opening up, land reform still remains a crucial part of the reform process. In this first year of the 12th 5-year plan, the question is whether real progress can be made in terms of the long-delayed reforms that people are most concerned about.

Chen Zhu (陈竺), Minister of Health

"Health reform is a top priority for the Ministry of Health in 2011. The ministry will complete a comprehensive, five-point reform plan that includes advancing the National Essential Drug System and the pilot program for public hospital reform."

--- Chen Zhu, at the work conference of the Ministry of Health on January 6th, 2011

Key phrases:  National Essential Drugs System, Public Hospital Reform

Core concerns: Health care reform began in 2009 and is planned to last 3 years. 2011 will be the last year. Reforms include the National Essential Drug System, which was launched in August 2009 and has already made notable progress but also featured a number of problems, including bidding and retail prices. The pilot program for public hospital reform was announced on Feb 23, 2010 ans was to take place in 16 cities. Cities have not embraced the pilot program and necessary government funding has yet to be secured. Therefor, 2011 will be a crucial year for the ministry of health and officials involved in healthcare reform.

Luo Lin (骆琳), Director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS)

"In 2011 SAWS will reduce the number of work-related accidents, effectively monitor and prevent large-scale accidents, continue to take steps toward greater safety in production."

--- Luo Lin, at the National Safety in Production Conference on Jan 13, 2011

Key phrases: Safety, integration

Core concerns: The number of production related accidents has steadily declined. In 2005, there were an estimated 718,000 production related accidents, in 2010, there were around 363,000. The number of production-related deaths also fell from 127,000 in 2005 to 79,500 in 2010. That said, towards the end of the 11th 5-year plan, central and provincial governments began work on a series of construction projects related to the stimulus spending introduced to ward off the economic threat posed by the financial crisis, with many large companies embarking on projects ranging from factories to coal-mines and heavy industry. In the next five years, these projects will begin to be constructed and SAWS will be under immense pressure to monitor work-related safety. 

Yin Weimin (尹蔚民), Minister of Human Resources and Social Security

"We will follow the principle of 'people first,' and 'merit-based advancement,' consider full employment as the goal for further socioeconomic development, make every effort to increase employment.”
--- Yin Weimin, at the National Human Resources and Social Work Conference on Dec 30, 2010

Key phrases:  Livelihood issues, Merit-based advancement

Core concerns: In 2011, the number of college graduates in China will have reached 6.6 million. In the near future, the employment situation will encounter immense pressure from long-term structural changes as the amount of people looked for work will exceed the amount of work avaiable. On the other hand, the labor market situation is also likely to become more complicated. In the final quarter of 2010, many regions reported labor shortages, a sign of structural problems.

Han Changfu (韩长赋), Minister of Agriculture

"We will ensure that grain output exceeds 1 trillion jin (500 million tonnes) in 2011, ensure supply of agricultural products and make sure that the income of farmers continues to increase fairly quickly."
 --- Han Changfu, at the Agriculture work conference on Dec 21, 2010.

Key phrases: Increase Grain Production, Increase the income of farmers

Core concerns: The central government's No. 1 document stated that water conservancy projects will be a priority investment, this will help to stabilize supply of agricultural products, maintain price stability and even lift the income of farmers. Since last winter, many regions have been suffering from severe droughts. The low rainfall, coupled with substandard water conservancy projects, has created a difficult economic situation for rural areas. The entire agricultural sector will be hard pressed to ensure agricultural production, the income of farmers and the nation's vegetable basket. 

Yuan Guiren (袁贵仁), Minister of Education

"Full realization of the education plan is the pressing task of the ministry of education ... The number one priority is realization. 'Realization' is the keyword for educators in 2011."
--- Minister of Education Yuan Guiren, at the National Education Working Conference on Jan 24, 2011.
Key phrase: Realization

Core concerns:

The national education working conference and the education reform plan will provide a roadmap for education reform, clarify the direction of education reforms, and clearly define the tasks and objectives of education-related departments and projects. The pressing task now is realization. It is an important test for the ministry of education. Yuan Guiren stresses a broad implementation of education reform plans as well as changing the style of how the department works.

Zhou Shengxian (周生贤), Minister of Environmental Protection

"Prioritize sustainability and environmental threats to public health, make every effort to reduce pollution levels, ensure safe use of nuclear power and ensure a good start to the environmental protection plans of the 12th 5-Year Plan."
--- Zhou Shengxian outlines the main goals of the Ministry of Environmental Protection at the National Environmental Protection Work Conference on Jan 13, 2011.

Key phrases: Reduce emissions and conserve energy , control emissions of major pollutants

Core concerns: The price of China's economic development has been environmental degradation and persistent pollution. Preserving the environment is crucial to human life, and protecting the environment is also protecting the health of the planet. We will work to reduce carbon emissions. Wheter or not we have more power outages this year is not so important, our main concern for the this coming year is to ensure a healthy life in a pollution-free environment. 

Liu Jiayi (刘家义), Auditor General of the National Audit Office

"Guarantee the function of every aspect of the state auditing administration, complete assessment of the debt situation of provincial governments, prevent the implementation of blind, wasteful or high-risk projects in the provincial 12th 5-year Plans."
--- Liu Jiayi outlines the goals of the National Audit Office during the National Audit work conference on Jan 18, 2011.

Key phrase: Comprehensive assessment of provincial government debts

Core concerns: In order to strengthen and improve macroeconomic controls, the National Audit Office will continue to assess and inspect accounts related to the implementation of major economic policies. Priorities include inspection of disaster relief and reconstruction projects in Wenchuan, Yushu and Zhouqu, along with audits of spending related to the Beijing-Shanghai high speed rail connection, airport construction, the Shanghai World Expo and the Guangzhou Asian Games. Auditing capacity and procedures are no longer a problem, but there is still room for improvement.

Xiao Jie (肖捷 ), Director-General of the State Administration of Taxation (SAT)

"Fair taxation under the law, ensure spending that benefits the public, implement system-wide tax cuts, promote tax reform, improve taxation regulation and services, improve the contribution of tax revenue to economic development, adjust income distribution, ensure and improve social security, promote rapid yet steady long-term economic and social development."
---  Xiao Jie outlines the goals for the Ministry of Taxation in 2011, at the National Taxation Work Conference on Dec 29, 2010.

Key phrase:  Tax Reform

Core concerns: 2011 represents an important year for tax reform. In January this year, a pilot property tax was introduced. Tax reduction policies will be the main priority in the coming months. It is rumored that reform policies concerning sales tax, value-added tax, and resource tax will also affect both individuals and enterprises.

Ma Jiantang (马建堂), Director of the National Bureau of Statistics

"The Bureau of statistics will improve the quality of statistical information and also its coordination with government by pushing for standardization of collection procedures, reform and innovation, transparency, accelerate the completion of basic statistical indices and four major projects."
--- Ma Jiantang, at the annual work conference on Jan 30, 2011.

Key phrases:  Standardization, transparency, 4 major projects

Core concerns: The National Statistics Bureau releases data; it does not issue macroeconomic policies, but it affects public expectations about economic policies. The NBS affects the flexibility and effectiveness of macroeconomic adjustments; therefore, it is crucial that collection and interpretation procedures are scientific, open to the public, and transparent.

Yi Gang (易纲), Director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

"The focal point of foreign exchange management is to prevent the influx of 'hot money' and to promote key reforms in foreign exchange management."

--- Yi Gang summarizes his hopes for SAFE in 2011 during the annual work meeting in Jan 2011.

Key phrases: Reform, prevent risks arising from cross border capital flow

Core concerns: SAFE needs to seriously consider the pros and cons of China's economic relationships. 2011 also marks the start of the 12th 5-year plan, which will outline economic policies for the next five-year period. SAFE will continue to help facilitate the expasion of international trade and at the same time, work to prevent many of the risks that accompany international trade through effective reforms. SAFE will need to look into issues such as improving trade regulation and investment facilitation, maintaining stable economic development and promoting an international balance of payments.

Liu Mingkang (刘明康), Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)

"Policies for 2011 will focus on rapid economic development and risk prevention to ensure safe banking operations."
--- Chairman Liu, at the China Bank Regulatory Commission Annual work conference on Jan 17, 2011

Key phrase: changing patterns of development and risk prevention

Core concerns: In light of the complex domestic and international economic situation in 2010, the CBRC plans to highlight potential risks facing the banking industry. The banking industry will strengthen implementation of macroeconomic adjustments to meet domestic needs. CBRC, however, also wants to safeguard against the four major potential risks (credit risk, market risk, operation risk, and liquidity risk) through off-site supervision and on-site inspection of major investment plans, enforcement of standards, and validating long-term development plans. CBRC also hopes to encourage core competition through improving financial services.
Shang Fulin (尚福林), Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)

"Economic and social development can be better served through the development of capital markets."
--Shang Fulin, at the China Securities and Futures Conference expected on January 14, 2011.

Key phrases: multi-level markets, exit system, the international board, refinancing

Core concern: The CSRC will focus on the pilot expansion of the Zhongguancun market. Also, the CSRC hopes to increase regulation of both bond financing and bond issuance, improve the de-listing mechanisms. The international board will also likely be launched in 2011.

Wu Dingfu (吴定富), Chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC)

"The insurance industry will work to promote steady and rapid development and prevent insurance risks, maintain order in the insurance market, and protect insurance guarantees. "
--- Wu Dingfu at the national work conference on January 11, 2011

Key phrases: Risk Prevention, regulation

Core concern: The insurance industry is experiencing rapid development accompanied by both short-term and long-term problems. Macroeconomic risks include "longevity, interest rate risks, and catastrophic risks". The risks will continue to test the China's Insurance Regulatory Commission and whether their policies will be effective in 2011.

Links and Sources
The Economic Observer Online:
China Policy Barometer 2009 (Part I)
The Economic Observer Online: China Policy Barometer 2009 (Part II)
The Economic Observer Online: China Policy Barometer 2008