China to down size bureaucracy

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Tue Feb 6 17:17:15 MST 2001

5 February 2001

China to down size bureaucracy
BEIJING: China is to begin decreasing the size of its bloated bureaucracy by
20 percent at city, county and township levels in an effort to cut costs,
increase administrative efficiency and curb excessive tax levying on
farmers, state press said on Sunday.
State Councillor Wang Zhongyu called for the cutbacks to begin in 663
cities, 2,109 counties and more than 25,000 township governments and said
restructuring should be completed within five to 10 years, the People's
Daily reported.
The reform is specifically targeted at reducing the administrative power of
local government, separating government functions from local enterprises and
reducing redundancies in government functions between city, county and
township levels, the report said.
The reform was seen as part of a government streamlining plan pushed forward
by Premier Zhu Rongji in 1998, that resulted in the reduction of the size of
China's central and provincial governments by about one third.
In all a total of four million government jobs are expected to be cut after
the complete restructuring drive is finished, local press reports said.
Chinese think tanks have long called for the elimination of some 25,000
township governments, which administer most of China's rural areas and are
wracked with corruption, "local landlordism," and "unregulated fee levying."
"Institutional reform is the key to increasing farmer's incomes and reducing
their financial burdens," Chen Xiwen, an expert at the Development Research
Centre of the State Council, was quoted recently by the China Daily Business
Weekly as saying.
Reform should include the removal of around 25,000 township governments
across China which would also work to invigorate county-level governments
while giving farmers a bigger say in village-level management, he said.
Some of the biggest challenges facing China following its expected entry
into the World Trade Organisation as early as this year are seen as coming
from the agricultural sector, where some two thirds of China's population of
1.3 billion people live. (AFP)
 For reprint rights:Times Syndication Service

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