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China Daily Website

S China province deepens government reform

Updated: 2012-12-28 22:23
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China's top legislature on Friday adopted a draft decision authorizing the Southern province of Guangdong to bypass several laws while carrying out temporary administrative reforms.

The draft, approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), enables Guangdong to suspend or adjust 25 governmental examination and approval items set by national laws.

The move marks a step f orward in further limiting government power, but guarantees the procedural legitimacy of the proposed reforms.

On August 22, the State Council, or China's cabinet, approved Guangdong's reform program with respect to approval items set by lower-level regulations, specifying that items set by national laws need to go through special legal procedures at the NPC Standing Committee.

While briefing legislators on Monday, Minister of Supervision Ma Wen cited the legal basis of the draft, including an article from the Constitution and two similar cases in the mid-1980s, when the country did not have proper legislation concerning markets, trade and taxation.

The absence of related laws resulted in a situation where some reform projects were carried out in contradiction with existing laws.

The new arrangement could help change that, as it incorporates the principle of the rule of law, said Zhou Hanhua, an administrative law expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The government has pledged to deepen reforms concerning matters subject to government examination and approval so as to provide quality public services and maintain social fairness and justice.

Since 2001, the government has made six attempts to clean up the overloaded administrative approval system. Cuts or adjustments were made to 2,497 administrative approval items, or 69.3 percent of the total.

However, China's economic and social development requires more intense reforms, as unnecessary government intervention in the private sector has resulted in power abuses and rent-seeking.

In the course of future administrative reforms, due consideration should be paid to the legal basis of all decisions, as the country values law-based governance.

Guangdong's pilot program echoes a policy statement contained in a report delivered to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which states that China will exercise government administration in accordance with the law and ensure that law enforcement is strict, standardized, fair and civilized.

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