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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 17:03 GMT
China plans new 'mega-ministries'
By Shirong Chen
BBC China Analyst

China's Great Hall of the People, Beijing (file photo)
China currently has 28 separate ministries
China plans to create "mega-ministries" to improve government efficiency and deal with the more complex issues brought about by its economic reforms.

Financial services regulation and agriculture are among the first areas to be considered.

But the domination of Chinese politics by the Communist Party may outweigh any moves towards restructuring.

China has already slashed the number of its ministries from 100 in 1982 to the current number of 28.

But this has not been enough to deal with the many complex issues brought about by a fast-moving market-oriented economy. The existing structure can no longer cope effectively.

Bigger problems

The State Council, or cabinet, is considering the creation of some "mega-ministries".

For example, China's Central Policy Institute is proposing a financial regulatory body following the model of the UK's Financial Services Authority.

Agriculture, another area facing restructuring, may mirror the US model.

Experts believe this will improve efficiency and policy co-ordination and reflects the practices of mature economies.

However, some critics warn that this may breed more problems on a yet bigger scale, as power and corruption are so often linked in China's government machinery.

What is more, the proposed cabinet restructuring would bring into sharper focus incompatibilities between the Communist Party hierarchy and the functions of government.

The Communist leadership is unlikely to heed any calls for political reforms which would further advance the economic development the new ministries are designed to facilitate.



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