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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More