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China Reform Monitor - No. 1323

Greater protections, less "family planning";
Reining in China

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
April 18, 2018


March 12:

"Implementing the strategy of military-civilian integration is a prerequisite for building integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities and for realizing the Party's goal of building a strong military," Xi Jinping told delegations from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) at the National People's Congress. Xi called for “coordinated sci-tech innovation in key areas between the military and civilian sectors...ordered the military to firmly support the Party and the country's institutional reform, [and] said Party committees and governments at all levels should do more to support defense and military advancement, while the armed forces should render their service to economic and social development,”
Xinhua reports.

China is merging its banking and insurance regulators, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), respectively, to form a new super-regulator that will report to the State Council. The merger is intended to resolve problems such as unclear responsibilities and cross-regulation,
Reuters reports. The role of regulating the combined CBRC and CIRC will be transferred to the People’s Bank of China. China will also form a national markets supervision management bureau, although it appears the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) will remain a separate entity.

March 14:

China's National Health and Family Planning Commission, which for four decades enforced the country’s one-child policy, will drop "family planning" and become the National Health Commission,
South China Morning Post (SCMP)reports. The new commission is responsible for national health policy, reforming the medical system, reducing tobacco use, and overseeing occupational health. Li Bin, the commission's minister, said it would develop family planning policies using "scientific judgments." Since China has a shrinking labor pool and a rapidly aging population, five provinces – Guangdong, Yunnan, Jiangxi, Hainan, and Fujian – are revising their rules allowing companies to fire employees who have extra children. "It is a historic change and watershed moment. China is shifting from population control to population development," said Yi Fuxian at the University of Wisconsin.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In 1981, when the Maoist commune system was abandoned, local governments adopted various harsh forms of "population management" to limit births, including hefty fines and even forced abortions and sterilization. At the 18th Party Congress last November, for the first time in over 30 years, the party leader's work report did not refer to "family planning." Instead, Xi said the party would promote "the coordination of childbirth policies with other economic and social policies."]

March 21:

"To fully implement the Party's absolute leadership over the PLA and other armed forces" the State Oceanic Administration will be subsumed by the new Ministry of Natural Resources, and China’s Coast Guard, which was previously under the State Oceanic Administration, is now under the People's Armed Police (PAP), which itself was placed under the direct command of the Central Military Commission (CMC), reports the
SCMP. The Coast Guard will now train and share operational intelligence directly with the PLA Navy. "This shows that domestic considerations prevail. The transfer to the PAP has formalized command and control of the coastguard along military, not civilian lines...The coastguard will enjoy more flexibility and authority to act decisively in disputed waters,” said Lyle Morris at the RAND Corp. Moreover, to "better coordinate the resources and manpower of diplomatic and maritime departments," the Central Maritime Rights Leadership Group, which oversees maritime issues, is being absorbed into the Central Foreign Affairs Committee.

March 25:

The PAP, meanwhile, will expand its role to defend China’s national interests. On March 21, the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee released its "Plan for Deepening Reform of Party and State Organs" with the intention of accelerating the PAP's militarization and professionalization,
the Asia Times reports
. The reforms remove the PAP from civilian control remove all non-security related duties and elevate the PAP to a higher level of professionalization and militarization. PAP troops tasked with non-security related duties such as gold mining, hydropower project construction, transportation work, forestry duties, firefighting, border control, and security guards have been transferred to civilian agencies.


Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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