Unfired busts of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong sit on a drying rack inside a workshop at the Jingdezhen Porcelain Factory in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's Unveils `Revolutionary' Plan to Ensure Party Power

(Bloomberg) -- China unveiled a “revolutionary” government restructuring plan that consolidates Communist Party authority, giving President Xi Jinping more direct control over the levers of money and power.

The plan put before China’s rubber-stamp parliament Tuesday -- some of which had been reported by Bloomberg -- calls for giving the People’s Bank of China greater oversight in the $43 trillion banking and insurance industry and merging regulators that oversee the sector. The plan’s goal was “strengthening the Communist Party’s overall leadership” of the state, the document said.

The changes include:

  • Merging China Insurance Regulatory Commission with China Banking Regulatory Commission
  • Creating new office overseeing foreign aid that combines roles of ministries of commerce and foreign affairs related to Xi’s Belt and Road trade-and-infrastructure initiative
  • Expanding environmental ministry, absorbing some roles now held by National Development and Reform Commission
  • Merging anti-monopoly roles of NDRC and Ministry of Commerce
  • Setting up immigration management bureau
  • Giving some quality control responsibilities to bureau overseeing intellectual property rights

The moves would further centralize power in the nation of 1.4 billion people. The emphasis on party control represents China’s most decisive shift yet from 1980s reforms spearheaded by Deng Xiaoping aimed at professionalizing the government after Mao Zedong’s disruptive party-led political movements caused famine and bloodshed.

Liu He, a key economic adviser to Xi and a member of the party’s 25-member Politburo, called the reform “revolutionary” Tuesday in an article published by the party’s People’s Daily newspaper. “Strengthening the party’s leadership in all areas of work is the primary task of deepening the reform of the party and state institutions,” he said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.net, Keith Zhai in Singapore at qzhai4@bloomberg.net.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Peter Martin, Keith Zhai