Chinese Premier promises to build "government for the people" 03-05-2004 17:26

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised on Mar.5 that the government will hear the opinions of more people in making decision and be under more strict supervision by the people.

In an unprecedented move to build a government for the people, the premier spent 11 minutes in his annual government work report to the parliament, outlining his five-point plan to improve the efficiency of the government, allow more people to voice their opinions on major issues, to improve the government's capability in the face of crisis like SARS, to pay more attention to criticism and to intensify the discipline for public servants.

"We will further transform government functions...,adhere to scientific and democratic policy-making...,perform all our duties in accordance with the law...,consciously accept the oversight of the general public..., improve the government's style of work and improve the overall quality of public servants," Wen said of the government improvement, which is listed as a separate part of his report.

The premier stressed that the five-point plan is "in conformity with the principle of government for the people and in order to build a law-based government."

China has been trying to change role and image of government for years alongside its reform and opening to the outside world. Wen himself impressed the people much when he came to talk with university students in the peak of SARS, demanded unpaid wages for farmers and shook hands with AIDS patients last year.

"The self-improvement of government has become a core issue of reform," said Wu Jiang, a professor with the Administration Department of the National School of Administration. "Wen's statement in the report is a reply to the call of the people and reflected the idea of human-based development in government building."

Put forward by the Communist Party of China last year, the human-based development concept asks the government to care the life of the people, know the conditions of the people and respect the opinions of the people.

"This is a quite big move," said Hassan Tavana, chief correspondent of the Iranian Islamic News Agency in Beijing, who has been following events in China for 18 years. "It demonstrated the Government has realized the problems and begun to take actions."

In an unprecedented move, Wen announced in his report that agricultural taxes will be rescinded in five years from now on, reducing about 7 billion yuan of burden for Chinese farmers this year.

Wen also promised to create 9 million jobs for urban residents and get 5 million laid-off workers re-employed, and provide more care to urban and rural residents with special difficulties.

"The government bears heavy and demanding responsibilities in the effort to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects," he said. "Governments and leading cadres ...need to raise their administrative and management ability."

In his report, Wen admitted that the government has an arduous task to rectify itself and fight corruption as some government officials have a "subjective, formalistic and bureaucratic style of work," and are "wasteful, extravagant and fraudulent, and sometimes even corrupt."

Wen has paid special attention to the building of government since he became the premier a year ago. He told the staff of the State Council three days after he assumed office that the new term of government must work within the framework of laws. A series of laws and regulations governing the operation of the State Council and government of various levels have been adopted.

A landmark event is the adoption of the Administrative Permit Law last August. The law, to be enacted from July 1, means "a revolution" to government of all levels and aims at building an efficient and clean government.

"Those who govern must be, first of all, governed by law," Wen told a gathering of more than 200 members of the CPPCC National Committee Mar.4. "Only by exercising administration by law, is it possible to govern the country by law."

Editor:Wang  Source:Xinhua News Agency

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