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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground 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.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid