Headline News


China forms new Cabinet with five "super ministers"

Source: Xinhua | 03-18-2008 08:36

Special Report:   2008 NPC & CPPCC sessions

BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China's parliament on Monday approved Premier Wen Jiabao's nomination of a new Cabinet, including five "super ministers" who are put on the frontline of a major government reshuffle.

The "super ministers" include minister of industry and information Li Yizhong, minister of transport Li Shenglin, minister of human resources and social security Yin Weimin, minister of environmental protection Zhou Shengxian and minister of housing and urban-rural construction Jiang Weixin.

"From this lineup, we can see the new requirements on the Cabinet ministers, set by the current social and economic development: capacities in strategic thinking and policy-making, administration and overall coordination," said Chi Fulin, executive president of the China Institute for Reform and Development.

Li Yizhong is widely known as former head of State Administration of Work Safety and a seasoned professional in petrochemical industries and state assets management. Li Shenglin has worked in factories and served as Mayor of Tianjin before he became vice-minister in charge of the former State Economic and Trade Commission and later, vice-minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

New minister of environmental protection Zhou Shengxian used to work in China's northwest, a region of adverse environmental and natural conditions. He served as director of the State Forestry Administration and the State Environmental Protection Administration respectively before Monday's nomination.

The new minister of human resources and social security Yin Weimin is a master of economics, and Jiang Weixin worked in the real estate sector and served as vice-minister in charge of the NDRC.

The current government reshuffle is expected to address focal issues in China's economic and social development, and to seek all-round, coordinated and sustainable development, said Prof. Li Junpeng of the National School of Administration. "The 'super ministers' therefore need to be enterprising and innovative."

Observers say the reshuffle is more an exploration of China's overall administrative reform, rather than a simple downsizing. The performance of the new government is also crucial to China's future development.

In comparison with the previous Cabinet consisting largely of technocrats, most of the 35 new Cabinet members are well-grounded in their specialties including economics, law, political science, agriculture, administration, science and philosophy.

At least five of them hold doctoral degrees, including Commerce Minister Chen Deming, Health Minister Chen Zhu, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, minister of agriculture Sun Zhengcai and minister in charge of the State Population and Family Planning Commission Li Bin.

Some of the ministers studied overseas: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at London School of Economics and Political Science, and Minister of Education Zhou Ji at State University of New York.

The two non-Communist ministers, Chen Zhu and Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, were trained in France and Germany respectively.

"Their profound experience will help them stand firm in the process of reform and opening up, remain cool-headed and make practical judgments in complicated situations," said Prof. Li Junpeng.

More than 10 ministers were born after New China was founded in1949 and witnessed the country's impoverished and unrestful past, and the momentous changes in the 30 years of reform and opening up.

Many of the new Cabinet members, including Premier Wen Jiabao, had worked as farmers or workers or in other grass-roots posts.

"They share similar experiences: they suffered the worst natural calamity in recent decades in the early 1960s, and their avid desire for knowledge was dampened by the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)," said Wang Ronghua, president of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Analysts say the coming five years will be a crucial period for China to implement the "Scientific Outlook on Development", and maintain sustained and balanced growth.

"The public is watching how the new Cabinet will boost sustainable development by transforming the economic growth pattern, provide basic and secure public services to promote social harmony, and deepen political reforms through administrative restructuring," said Chi Fulin.


Editor:Zhang Ning