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NO.23 December 1, 2003

  • China: A Country With a Developing Market Economy
  • Deepening Economic Restructuring--An Imperative Task
  • 10-Year Development of China's Public Servant System
  • Chinese Language Learning on the Upsurge Worldwide
  • Human Rights Safeguarded in China's Prisons

    China: A Country With a Developing Market Economy

           According to an authoritative research institute, after 25 years of reform and opening-up, particularly the efforts made in the past decade, China has initially established a socialist market economic system and become a country with a developing market economy.
           Experts from the Development Research Center under the State Council and other research institutes stated that the following five features mark the establishment of a socialist market economic system in China:
           --The pattern with the public sector remaining dominant and diverse sectors of the economy developing side by side has basically formed.By the end of 2002, China's state-owned assets had exceeded 11 trillion yuan, following the accelerated restructuring and steady development of the state-owned economy. Although the state-owned sector has seen a decline in the share of GDP, its control capacity and efficiency have increased step by step. The vigorously developing non-public sector, now accounting for more than one-third of the GDP, has become an important force propping up the national economy.
           --The market system has basically formed and the market of production factors has initially taken shape.A commodity market system that extends to all directions and provides good services and large varieties of products has basically formed. The prices of the great majority of commodities and service items are now determined through market competition. The compulsory plan for the production of all farm produce has been abolished, while that for the production of industrial goods is limited only to timber, gold, cigarettes, salt and natural gas. At present, the supply of more than 95 percent of commodities is subject to market distribution.
           --The macro-control system has been initially established. A fairly complete macro-economic control system that mainly relies on indirect regulation has begun to play a main role.In the main, the compulsory plan is being replaced by economic, legal and necessary administrative means, and direct control by indirect regulation through the application of tax, interest rate, pricing and investment policies. The focus of macro-control has been shifted from interference in the micro-economy to the regulation of market demand and supply.
           --The system in which distribution according to work is dominant and a variety of modes of distribution coexist has developed continuously.A new system in which capital, technology, management and other production factors participate in distribution is taking shape, and various incomes through labor and non-labor legal incomes are now protected by the state and accepted by society. While primary distribution puts emphasis on efficiency and contribution, redistribution gives priority to maintaining social fairness, and various market players are encouraged to develop their initiative in creating wealth.
           --Construction of the social security system has advanced steadily. A social security system, which comprises endowment, unemployment and medicare insurance and guarantees for basic living standards, has been initially formed.By the end of 2002, some 147 million employees nationwide had participated in the endowment insurance, more than 100 million people in the unemployment insurance, and 94 million people in the basic medicare insurance. An initial social security network has been established, which has played an important role in the formation of a market-oriented employment mechanism, in deepening enterprise reform and in maintaining social stability.
           According to the internationally recognized standard, in 2001 the development of China's market economy reached 69 percent, which exceeded the critical point of 60 percent set by specialists. This indicates that China has already become a country with a market economy.

    Deepening Economic Restructuring -- An Imperative Task

    -The Decision adopted by the Third Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China set the goal of improving the socialist market economic system. Transformation of government functions and institutional reform represent the key links in the effort to establish and improve the socialist market economic system.

    By Li Xingshan, dean of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China

           China has achieved major progress in both the theory and practice concerning economic restructuring over the past 25 years. However, there is still a long way to go to attain the goal of establishing a complete socialist market economic system.
           First, although the ownership pattern with the public sector remaining dominant and diverse sectors of the economy developing side by side has basically formed, such problems as the low operational quality and sporadic distribution of the state-owned economy have not been fundamentally resolved. Furthermore, many problems related to understanding and practice still exist, such as how to establish a modem property right system in the state-owned asset management system and in the reform of state-owned enterprises, how to establish a modern enterprise system and how to regularize the management structure of legal entities.
           Second, there are gaps between eastern and western regions and between urban and rural areas not only in economic development, but also in structural reform. With 10 made the maximum index for the marketization level, the level of China's eastern, central and western regions equals 8, 5 and 3 respectively.
           Third, while the marketization level of China's ordinary commodities (including ordinary capital goods) is fairly high, that of production factors such as capital, labor and talents falls far behind. According to estimates, the marketization level of labor and capital is about 60 percent and 40 percent respectively, and that of managerial personnel (a main talent market) is even lower. According to available data, 56.4 percent of enterprise managers are appointed by higher-level authorities, and only 2.3 percent are mutually chosen through market competition. Of this, 80.7 percent of the managers of state-owned enterprises are appointed and only 0.6 percent of them are mutually chosen through market competition.
           Fourth, in the field of income distribution, the pattern that distribution according to work is dominant and a variety of modes of distribution coexist has basically formed. However, many problems still exist, such as the coexistence of the phenomenon of "everybody eating from the same big pot" (meaning egalitarianism) and excessive income gaps, the coexistence of a large number of redundant workers and a huge pressure on employment, and the coexistence of a big financial pressure on the government and an urgent demand for expanding social security.
           Fifth, though great progress has been made in recent years in the effort to transform government functions and carry out institutional reform, there is still a long way to meet the goal of establishing a complete socialist market economic system. For instance, although the number of construction projects subject to examination and approval and that of government employees have been reduced considerably, the old management methods and work styles have not been changed fundamentally. The method of resources distribution and the operation of the macro-control system continue to follow the practices under a planned economic system. The transformation of government functions and institutional reform represent the key links in the effort to establish and improve the socialist market economic system. They meet the demand not only for fundamentally changing the methods of resources distribution and establishing a standard macro-control system, but also for a series of other reforms, including deepening the reform of the state-owned asset management system, of state-owned enterprises, of the financial system and of the foreign-related economic system.
           The Decision adopted by the Third Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee on the improvement of the socialist market economic system clearly defines the guiding thought and principles for deepening the economic structural reform and sets the goal and tasks for improving the socialist market economic system.
           First, with regard to the form for the materialization of the public ownership and the reform of the property right system, the Decision makes it necessary to take the shareholding system a main form for the materialization of the public ownership, and to establish a modem property right system with clearly defined ownership, power and responsibilities, strict protective measures and smooth channels of circulation.
           Second, with regard to the uneven development between different regions and between urban and rural areas, as well as imbalances in reform and other fields, the Decision calls for efforts to coordinate urban and rural development, the development of different regions, the development of the economy and society, the harmonious development of man and nature, and domestic development and opening-up. In addition, it has made a series of special stipulations on rural reform.
           Third, for improving the market system and regulating the market order, the Decision calls for energetic effort to develop capital market and the market of other production factors.
           To accelerate the transformation of government functions and institutional reform, the Decision says it is necessary to deepen the reform of the administrative examination and approval system, and to transform the focus of the government's function from economic management to services for principal market players and the creation of a sound development environment.

    10-Year Development of China's Public Servant System

           Ten years have passed since the State Council promulgated and put into effect the Provisional Regulations on Public Servants in August 1993.
           Initial Formation of Legislation on the Management of Public Servants
           The establishment of China's public servant system has experienced four stages - investigation and preparation, trial operation, implementation and improvement.
           In the implementation of the public servant system over the past decade, China has formulated 13 other provisional regulations and 13 rules for the implementation of these regulations, as well as relevant policies and measures, in addition to the Provisional Regulations on Public Servants. These regulations and rules cover all aspects related to public servants, including the category of posts, examination and recruitment, evaluation, appointment and removal, reward, resignation and dismissal, training, and promotion and demotion. This indicates that a fairly complete legal system on public servants has been formed in the country, composed of laws, regulations and rules formulated by both central and local authorities.
           Enhancing the Quality of the Ranks of Public Servants
           With the implementation of the system of recruiting public servants through examinations, the malpractices in the recruitment work have been curbed. At present, public servants of provincial-level government organizations in all the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on China's mainland are recruited through examinations. Between 2000 and the end of 2002 alone, 439,000 public servants were recruited nation-wide through examinations.
           A large number of university and secondary vocational school graduates have passed public servant recruitment examinations. According to available statistics, by the end of 2000, a total of 97,494 of them had become public servants. Since the examination system was introduced in 1995, over 5,000 university graduates have been recruited by central government departments and their attached institutions annually. Public servant examination has become a main channel for the employment of each year's university graduates.
           Thanks to the examination system, the proportion of public servants having a college education or above had risen to 69 percent by the end of 2002, up 37 percentage points against 32 percent in 1993.
           The current contingent of public servants shows a high level of knowledge structure and a low level of age structure. Many of the public servants have acquired the knowledge of science and technology, modern administrative management, market economy, foreign languages and computer science. Young public servants under the age of 35 now account for 38.8 percent of the total number of public servants. Those aged between 36-50 make up 51.5 percent, and those aged over 55 take up 5.5 percent. The average age of the ranks of public servants has come down.
           Restraint Mechanism Helps Enhance Vitality
           According to the statistics of the Ministry of Personnel, during the seven years between 1996-2002, more than 15,000 public servants were dismissed and 28,626 others resigned nationwide. Since 1998, some 64,000 public servants have been subject to various kinds of administrative disciplinary action. The completion of the restraint mechanism has helped enhance the vitality of the ranks of public servants gradually.
           In recent years, efforts have been pooled to complete various operational mechanisms in the public servant system, including competition and incentive mechanisms, the mechanism of replacing the old by the new, the professional development mechanism, the anti-corruption mechanism, and the right and interest guarantee mechanism, which has ensured the scientific management over public servants and the realization of rule by law.
           The establishment of the mechanism of replacing the old by the new has solved the longstanding problem of the life-tenure of public servants. Those who are lax in discipline or irresponsible for their jobs, and those who refuse to mend their ways despite repeated disciplinary action, or have violated law or discipline should be severely dealt with and expelled from the ranks of public servants. Some who cannot adapt themselves to the work in government departments are permitted to resign. With the broken of the "iron rice bowl" (meaning a secure job), the mechanism of replacing the old with the new and that of selecting for employment on the basis of one's qualification have played an effective role in the management and recruitment of public servants.
           In recent years, the government has also put forward a series of stipulations on taking administrative disciplinary action against public servants with malpractices, which has strengthened supervision over and regularized the behavior of public servants. According to statistics, in 2001 alone, more than 5,500 public servants nationwide were subject to administrative disciplinary action. In addition, the Ministry of Personnel has put into effect the Code of Conduct of Public Servants, which sets specific requirements for public servants, ranging from politics, ethics and attitude toward work to personal behavior, service, law enforcement, security discipline observation and external public functions. This indicates that the building and management of the ranks of China's public servants have been brought on to the legal track.

    Chinese Language Learning on the Upsurge Worldwide

           According to the latest statistics, the number of people learning the Chinese language worldwide has now exceeded 25 million.
           More than 2,100 universities in 85 countries have opened Chinese courses, so have the primary and secondary schools in many of these countries. Chinese has been designated a foreign language in university entrance examinations in the United States, Canada, Japan and other countries. "Chinese language study is on the upsurge worldwide, with a continuous expansion of areas and the number of learners," said Li Gulling, an official in charge of the Chinese language teaching for foreigners.
           Chinese has become the third main language used in the United States. More than 80 American universities have made Chinese a specialized subject, and more than 700 other universities have opened Chinese courses. The United States now leads the world in Chinese studies, with 200 research institutes and more than 1,000 Sinologists. About 1,000 PhD students majoring in Sinology are trained in the country each year.

           Chinese, also the third main language in Canada, has become a specialized subject in many key universities.
           In Europe, Chinese language learning is gaining popularity too. There are 20 universities in Italy having Chinese departments or Chinese specialty, against the original number of eight. A growing number of universities in Germany have established a department of East Asian studies, and many of those already having this department have established a separate department of Sinology. With the financial aid provided by the Volkswagen Fund, Germany has intensified Chinese studies in recent years. It has become one of the countries with the largest number of students majoring in Sinology. In Switzerland, seven cities have opened Chinese courses. The Ministry of Education in France has appointed an educational inspector to supervise Chinese language teaching in primary and secondary schools throughout the country.
           Africa is one of the earliest continents in the world to send students to China to learn the Chinese language. Chinese language teaching is now available in many universities in South Africa, Benin, Cameroon, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and the Sudan.
           Chinese language study is most popular in Asia. Students from Asian countries account for 75 percent of all foreign students in China.
           There are hundreds of thousands of Chinese language learners in the Republic of Korea (ROK), the largest number in Asia. More than 140 universities have established Chinese departments, while over 300 others have opened Chinese courses. The number of ROK students studying in China has exceeded that of Japanese students, coming first as compared with the number of students from other foreign countries.
           The written Chinese language has exerted profound influences on Japanese culture during the over 1,000-year cultural exchange between the two countries. At present, Japan boasts at least I million Chinese language learners.
           Chinese is now the second main foreign language used in Viet Nam. More than 20 universities have established Chinese departments, while many secondary schools have opened Chinese courses. Chinese language teaching has become one of the best-paid and most envied occupations in the country.
           The Thai people now show the greatest enthusiasm in their study of Chinese over the past decade. The capital city of Bangkok has become Thailand's Chinese language teaching center. Putonghua (standard Chinese pronunciation), simplified Chinese characters and the Chinese phonetic alphabet have all enjoyed popularity in the country. A 100-year-old Thai school, with 14 colleges and primary and secondary schools, is famous for Chinese language teaching. Its college of commerce alone has 2,000 students studying Chinese.
           Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who is very fond of Chinese culture, has learned Chinese from nine teachers. Over the past two decades, she has been to China 14 times for inspection, tour and study. In March 2000, the Chinese Ministry of Education awarded her a Chinese Language-Culture-Friendship Prize. In February 2002, she came to Beijing again for a one-month study, and received an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Peking University.
           In Indonesia, where the use of Chinese was banned for 32 years, the people's enthusiasm for Chinese language study has been rekindled in recent years. While many universities have set up Chinese departments, private schools devoted to Chinese language teaching have mushroomed. The Indonesian Ministry of Education has included Chinese teaching into the educational program for secondary schools.
           Chinese is one of the official languages used in Singapore. Chinese language teaching in the country focuses on Putonghua, simplified Chinese characters and the Chinese phonetic alphabet. Each year, the educational authorities employ dozens of Chinese teachers from China's mainland to teach in local primary and secondary schools.
           The past 20-odd years also saw a rapid increase in the number of foreign students studying Chinese in China, from less than 10,000 prior to the 1980s to 52,000 in 2000 and further to 61,800 in 2001.
           Why are the people worldwide crazy for Chinese language learning?
           First, it is due to the attraction of the Chinese language. Chinese, as one of the oldest and most developed languages in the world, has made tremendous contributions to the development of human civilization. So, it has continuously charmed the people of various countries over the past several thousand years.
           Second, the rapid economic development since reform and opening-up has raised China's international status to an unprecedented level, which has ushered in a new upsurge of Chinese language study. Learning Chinese is becoming increasingly imperative for those seeking investment, business opportunities or jobs in China and many others who plan to visit the country.

    Human Rights Safeguarded in China's Prisons

           The conditions of human rights in prisons represent a main criterion to judge the human rights protection in a country. In recent years, along with the notable improvement in China's human rights protection, significant progress has been made in this regard in the country's prisons. One of the main reasons for the progress is that the Chinese Government has continuously followed the guiding thought that people, as well as convicts, can be remolded.
           A short time ago, a forum on human rights protection in China's prisons was convened in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, jointly sponsored by the China Prisons Association and the China Human Rights Society. This forum, the first of its kind in the country, focused on such issues as how to improve the protection of the rights of convicts, how to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of prisoners in a new social environment, and how to implement relevant laws and use relevant theories to guide sentence service.
           At present, China has more than 700 prisons, with about 47 percent located in administrative regions under the county or even under the township level, and more than 70 percent in remote areas with poor transport facilities.
           In 1994, the country promulgated its first Law on Prisons, specifying the rights of prisoners in such fields as the person, civil affairs, religion, politics, external contacts, legal aid and individual development. China's prison management authorities also put forward corresponding guarantee measures in accordance with the law.
           In 1995, inspection establishments were posted in all of the country's prisons to supervise the enforcement of penalties in accordance with the law, to accept prisoners' appeals, complaints and accusations, and investigate the law-violating activities of prison officials.
           Giving Up the Practice of Exposing Convicts to the Public
           To date, the application filed by a convict with a death penalty for meeting his (her) family members before execution will be approved and arranged by the court--a practice that was almost impossible in the past.
           The judicial departments in Beijing recently launched a series of measures to ensure the civil administration of justice, such as replacing public trial meetings with news briefings, giving up the practice of parading labeled criminals through the streets, having masks on the heads of defendants involved in criminal cases, and forbidding the practice of pressing down the heads of defendants and taking off the handcuffs of defendants in trials of criminals cases. These new measures have drawn much public attention.
           According to the Public Security Bureau of Beijing Municipality, a new stipulation has been introduced to all the 23 detention houses in the city: Lawyers can meet the suspects in custody (not involved in confidential cases) within 48 hours after a request is posed, as long as the meeting procedures are complete.
           A short time ago, prisons in Beijing began to give prisoners day offs on a trial basis. Ten inmates of the Beijing Women's Jail, the Juvenile Delinquents Reform School and the Chaxi Prison became the first batch of beneficiaries of this new system.
           The boldest judicial reform conducted by Beijing is the trial practice of allowing five categories of convicts to serve their sentences in communities. "Community correction conforms to the humanitarian principle of legislation," said Wu Yuhua, director of the Bureau of Justice of Beijing Municipality. "The practice has created a relaxed remolding environment for criminals, and is conducive to mobilizing their initiative and enthusiasm," she added.
           Livelihood of Released Prisoners Guaranteed
           On the eve of this year's Mid-Autumn Festival (the 15th day of the eighth month on China's lunar calendar, a festival of family reunion), Fan Zili, a convict in the Luxi Prison in Shandong Province, missed his family hard, but was consoled to learn that he would be released this time next year. Fan, a farmer of Anhui Province, had already spent seven years in the jail. Beginning from April 2000, he used part of his incomes from labor in the prison to purchase a kind of specially designed insurance, which will pay him back in a lump or once every three months within three years after he is released from the prison. Fan planned to use the money to plant medicinal herbs at home.
           Many other inmates of the Luxi Prison bought the same insurance as Fan. According to an investigation, 13 percent of the convicts here are recidivists, and about 70 percent of them have repeated offences owing to financial difficulty. According to Han Changqing, head of the prison's education sector, they encouraged the convicts to buy the insurance with the aim of helping them tide over the three dangerous years after being released and lead a new life. Up to now, more than 10,000 prisoners in Shandong have purchased this kind of short-term insurance.
           Physiological Files for Female Convicts
           Policewomen in the Women's Prison of Shandong Province find the work here especially challenging. Li Huiju, a young policewoman, said that female convicts tend to be moody and often fuss about trivial things. She and her colleagues have found an effective way to control their mood--establishing physiological and psychological files for all inmates, in order to carry out individually geared psychoanalysis and nutrition regulation.
           At the beginning of this year, the jail's fifth ward began to record each convict's menstruation, illnesses, and physiological and psychological reactions prior to and during the menstruous period. Relevant treatment methods began to be used in April.
           Cui, 43, who has been sentenced to 13 years in imprisonment, felt dizzy and remained low-spirited during her menstruations. Physiological investigations found that her menstruation lasted 10 days, coupled with excessive blood flows. She was then given a soft job and more nutritious food, which helped stabilize her mood.
           Prison officials found that beginning in July, cases of fighting between convicts decreased significantly. It is learned that the experience of the fifth ward will be introduced to the whole prison.

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