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Scholars review developments in China’s governance over 40 years

Author  :  ZHA JIANGUO and XIA LI     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2018-12-06

The forum on politics took place in Shanghai in mid-November. Photo: Zha Jianguo/CSST

SHANGHAI—Scholars reviewed developments in China’s governance over the past four decades of reform and opening up at a recent forum on politics in mid-November. 

Over the past four decades, China has been steadily pushing forward reform in administration, said Zhou Guanghui, a professor from the School of Public Administration at Jilin University. In terms of administrative systems, Zhou pointed out that the purpose of the reform is to remove certain systems and mechanisms that hold back economic development.

The reform of the administrative system in China has been conducted through four steps from 1978 to 2018, Zhou said. From 1978 to 1992, the primary approach was to reform the highly centralized management system via streamlining administration and delegating powers. Between 1992 and 2002, China began to transform from a planned economy to a socialist market economy, and the transformation of government functions was key during this process. The third step between 2002 and 2012 was to strengthen public service and good governance through innovation with the system. Since 2012, administration reform has been focusing on improving the administrative approval system. 

China’s governance within the four decades of reform and opening up has been developed with people-oriented thinking, said Wang Puqu, a professor from the School of Government at Peking University. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, “people” has been one of the words with the highest frequency in the speeches of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and in CPC documents. Wang added that the primary manifestation of people-oriented thinking is a people-centered philosophy of development, which serves as the grounds for the country’s missions, strategies and tasks of the new era.

Sang Yucheng, president of the Shanghai Political Science Association, noted that research on political science is confronted with more problems under the context of the new era and the new contradiction. It is necessary to promote the governance of the country to meet the people’s increasing needs for a better life, especially their ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs. 

Over the past four decades, the National People’s Congress has taken major steps in all sectors, particularly in legislation, said Mao Fang, director of the Research Office of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress. Mao mentioned that lawmaking has shown great vitality in the new era. Since the Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China was amended in 2015, the power of lawmaking has been transferred to lower-level bodies, the cities divided into districts. This marks a milestone in the rule of law in China.

Meanwhile, China attaches more importance to carrying out lawmaking in a democratic way, maintaining sound legislation and listening to the voices of all sides. What’s more, China sees to it that people’s congresses and their standing committees play the leading role in lawmaking, ensuring lawmaking is more specialized. 




(edited by REN GUANHONG)

Editor: Yu Hui

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