News / Asia

China Axes Railway, Health Ministry in Overhaul

William Ide
— China is pressing forward with a government overhaul plan that seeks to streamline several government agencies in a bid to make them more effective. The plan also calls for axing the country’s Health Ministry and its corruption-plagued, debt-laden Railways Ministry.

In the past three decades, China has overhauled its government seven times. In this latest round, the number of ministries in China’s cabinet or State Council will shrink from 27 to 25.

The Railways Ministry has long been a target of public criticism. More than a dozen of its officials, including one railways minister, have been removed from their posts in the past two years because of corruption scandals.

Hu Xingdou, an economy professor at the Beijing Institute for Technology says the move will help fight corruption because its broader aim is to break the monopoly the ministry has long enjoyed.

Hu says China has entered a critical stage where deep reform is needed and the dismantling of the ministry really means that China is implementing market economy reform. He says the move shows that the government wants to break the monopoly and encourage competition with the private sector.

The overhaul plan calls for splitting the Railways Ministry in two, with its administrative powers coming under the Ministry of Transport. A company will be established to run China’s commercial railway operations.

The move has triggered an outpouring of responses online. Some people even went to the Railway Ministry in Beijing to take pictures outside its offices and then posted them online on China’s Twitter-like microblog service Weibo.

Many lamented that the ministry’s dissolution would mean the price of train tickets would go up. It remains unclear how the move will affect the Railways Ministry’s debt.

Wang Feng, an official with the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform spoke with reporters on Monday at a news conference to explain the changes.

Wang says that problem of the ministry’s debt will be handled after the company is established to manage its commercial operations. He says once that is taken care of, the answer will become clear.

In addition to the Railways Ministry, the Health Ministry will be merged with China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, the body that oversees China’s one-child policy.

However, government officials were quick to dispel any speculation that the move meant China was changing its one-child policy.

Wang Feng says that, given China’s limited resources, the policy would not only continue, but tighten.

Wang says the government can only strengthen its policy of birth control. He says that, once the changes are carried out, the central government will also seek more engagement from local governments.

In addition to the dissolution of the two ministries, the reorganization also calls for the raising of the status of the state Food and Drug Administration.

Food and drug safety is a major concern in China and persistent source of discontent and worry among the public.  Government officials say, last year alone, 465 officials were implicated on suspicion of food safety violations.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid