Beijing: China on Thursday revealed a major plan to revamp state institutions, tightening the President Xi Jinping-led Communist party’s grip over organisations responsible for governance, days after he secured an unprecedented third term as president and stamped his authority as the country’s most powerful leader in generations.
The new plan also streamlines the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) hold over the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
Several new central committees are being set up to increase the CPC’s (CPC) direct supervision on sectors like finance and technology, the detailed new plan, published by the official news agency in Chinese, said on Thursday evening.
“Efforts are needed to deepen institutional reform in key areas and ensure that the Party’s leadership over socialist modernisation becomes more refined in institutional setup, more optimised in the division of functions, more improved in institutions and mechanisms, and more efficient in operation and management,” according to the plan.
In other words, the CPC under Xi is set to deepen its grip and influence on every aspect of governance, essentially further blurring the already-thin divide between the Party and the government.
The plan also seems to have weakened the State Council’s, or China’s Cabinet, powers and vested them further in the CPC Central Committee, which is among the top three decision-making bodies in the CPC hierarchy; the other two being the Politburo and the seven-member Politburo standing committee, headed by Xi.
The plan said China will set up a financial watchdog run by the CPC, to be called the Central Financial Commission; the earlier state-run Financial Stability and Development Commission (FSDC) will be dissolved.
“A central commission for finance will be established to strengthen the CPC Central Committee’s centralised and unified leadership over financial work,” the plan said.
The new Commission will be responsible for “…top-level planning, coordination, overall advancement of financial stability and development and for supervising the work’s implementation.”
A new central commission for science and technology will also be set up to “…enhance the CPC Central Committee’s centralised and unified leadership over the work of science and technology”, the plan said.
This commission will deliberate and strategise on China’s “sci-tech development” and will coordinate “…efforts to resolve major issues of strategic, guiding and fundamental significance in the sci-tech sector”.
The new science commission has been formed in the backdrop China’s increasing focus on the strategic chip industry, which is under pressure from the US, and as Beijing attempts to take global lead in AI and cutting-edge technologies
On Hong Kong and Macau, the plan said: “A Hong Kong and Macau work office of the CPC Central Committee will be formed on the basis of the existing Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council.”
“The new office will function as a working body of the CPC Central Committee. The name of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council will be retained.”