China Unveils `Revolutionary' Plan to Ensure Party Holds Power

BEIJING, SINGAPORE, BLOOMBERG -- China unveiled a “revolutionary” government restructuring plan that consolidates Communist Party authority, giving President Xi Jinping more direct control just 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 merging several ministries and agencies including the regulators that oversee the country’s $43 trillion banking and insurance sectors. The proposed “CPC leadership system” would also clarify the party’s policy-making authority over state agencies.

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 led by Deng Xiaoping aimed at professionalizing the government after Mao Zedong’s disruptive party-led political movements led to 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.

The changes include:

Merging the China Insurance Regulatory Commission with the China Banking Regulatory Commission

Overhauling tax departments

Expands environmental ministry, absorbing some roles now held by the National Development and Reform Commission

Creates new office to oversee Xi’s Belt and Road trade-and-infrastructure initiative

Expands agricultural ministry to include some functions of NDRC and Ministry of Finance

Combines some roles of the ministries of Commerce and Foreign Affairs

Merges anti-monopoly roles of NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce

Sets up an immigration management bureau

Give some quality control responsibilities to bureau overseeing intellectual property rights