Q: I am with Bloomberg. You once said the government needs to show the utmost determination in reforming itself and this process could be a quite painful one.
As the Chinese economy comes under increased downward pressure, do you still have as firm a determination as before? And will the Chinese economy continue to slide? What will the future for the Chinese economy look like?
A: You asked about the pain caused by the government self-imposed reform. Let me tell you that the pain is still there. Actually, the pain is becoming more acute, and it is being felt in more places.
This is a reform the government has taken on itself. During the cause of the reform, vested interests will be upset, as the government will shatter its own powers. It's not nail-clipping. Instead, it's like taking a knife to one's own flesh. So pain is only natural, but, however painful it may be, we are determined to keep going until our job is done.
The reform of streamlining administration and delegating government powers helps us to get the relationship right between the government and the market. It helps to boost vitality of the market, and put us into a stronger position to cope with downward pressure on economic growth.
Last year, despite of economic slowdown, we managed to add more new urban jobs and this reform on government itself has played a very important role.
We have completed the five-year task of cutting State Council review items by one third within just two years.
With the reform of business system, on average each day, up to 10,000 new businesses have got registered, and increased of an over 50 percent over the preview year. This fully shows that our people represent the largest source of vitality for economic activity. And this reform by reducing the powers held in the hands of the government has actually helped us to tackle downward pressures on economic growth.
At the same time, we recognized that some measures have yet to be fully implemented, and some new problems have surfaced.A couple days ago, I came across a proposal during the Two Sessions which said that it is true that government review items have been slashed.
In the past to get one project approved, one needs to collect up to over 100 stamps from different governmental departments, but the number has been brought down to about 50 to 60, but still, all those long procedures have driven up the costs of business start-up and dampened people's enthusiasm for making innovations. That's a reason why the government is resolved that it will step up its efforts to streamline its administration and delegate more powers.
New steps will be taken this year in this reform, and our focus is on the following three areas. First, all non-governmental review items will be canceled. We must be sure that governmental power will not be exercised when it is not stipulated by the law. There are currently over 1,200 review items by the local governments as mandated by central governmental departments.
Our goal is to cut this number by over 200 in 2015. The government must not secretly hold onto powers that should be delegated, just releasing the hand brake but still keeping the foot brake on. Second, all provincial-level governments will be required to release their list of powers and list of responsibilities this year.
And this task will be assigned to governments in cities and city-level counties next year. We must keep our people well informed of what powers their governments hold and put government power under public oversight to prevent the abuse of office.
Third, we will explore new models for exercising better ongoing and exposed regulation. We will expand the trials for integrated law enforcement, and we will also ensure that there will be effective models for exercising regulation over such acts as cheating and swindling of market place, violating intellectual property rights, making and selling of fake or sub-standard goods, or cases involving food safety.
Just as shoes must suit the feet, our administration must meet people's needs and deliver well benefits. Thank you.
Q: I am with China National Radio. My question is about 2014 China's anti-corruption action as investigated many high-ranking officials, or "big tigers".
I would like to know what more steps will be taken to enhance institution-building in fighting corruption. You also once said that it is also corruption for government officials to be indolent or not performing their duties, so what steps would you take to solve the problem involving those "do nothing" officials?
A: The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government are committed to combating corruption and upholding integrity, since the 18th National Party Congress, the central committee of the CPC with comrade Xi Jinping as General Sectary has been taking strong efforts to ensure that all likes of corruption will be brought to account and in this process a number of high-ranking corruption officials have been investigated and dealt with, our efforts have yielded good results, and won people's supports.
In enhancing institution-building in fighting corruption, we will have better resources to address both the symptoms and root cause of corruption. First we need to ensure that we run the country in according with the law and everyone is equal before the law, and no one is above the law.
Second, we need to press ahead the reform of the administrative system. Just now I mentioned the reform government to stream line administration and delegate powers. This is to limit the breathing space for corruption including rent-seeking, as rent seeking is actually a common feature of various kinds of corruption.
Third, the supervision and education will also be strengthened. We must make sure that government power is exercised in a transparent way and subject to public oversight. All civil servants must enhance their self-discipline, and government power can only be used for public good not personal gains. There must be no acting irresponsibly or inaction on the part of government officials. And there is no rule for incompetence, or indolence on the part of government officials. We also need to step up the accountability system.