Communist Party gets more control over China’s cabinet – SUCH TV

Communist Party gets more control over China’s cabinet – SUCH TV

China’s parliament on Monday revised a law to effectively grant the Communist Party more executive control over China’s cabinet, the State Council, after cancelling the premier’s post-parliament news conference for the first time in three decades.

The amended State Council Organic Law passed by 2,883 delegate votes, with eight opposing and nine abstaining, during the closing day of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

It was the latest in a series of measures in recent years that have gradually eroded the executive authority of the State Council, headed by Chinese Premier Li Qiang, which nominally oversees China’s 21 government ministries as well as local governments.

Legal experts say the amendment of the State Council Organic Law for the first time since 1982 continues a trend of transferring more power from the state into the Party’s hands, leaving the government to faithfully implement Party directives.

Newly added articles stress that the State Council must “resolutely uphold the Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralised and unified leadership” and follow Xi Jinping Thought, the party’s name for the president’s signature ideology, which expounds on subjects ranging from diplomacy to culture.

“This is a significant shift in the reorganisation of executive authority in China,” said Ryan Mitchell, a law professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “While it is always clear that the head of the Party is the most influential figure in the overall hierarchy, the exact division of labour in policymaking and, especially, oversight of policy execution, can be opaque.” Li Hongzhong, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said in an address last week to parliament that the revision is intended to “deepen reform of party and state institutions” and “fully implement the Constitution”, which was changed in 2018 to reassert the Party’s leadership over everything.

“It is yet another sign that the Party is both increasing its overt control over state organs and wants to be seen as fully in charge,” said Thomas Kellogg, professor of Asian law at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

“Politics is in command, and both Party cadres and government bureaucrats are meant to pay ever-closer attention to the Party’s dictates and ideological directives as the key guide for day-to-day decision-making,” he added.

The cancelled post-parliament news conference for the premier is traditionally one of the most widely followed events on Beijing’s economic and policy calendar.

Since taking power in 2012, Xi has established several new central party committees overseeing multiple ministries that report directly to him. Some even encroach on economic and financial policy, traditionally viewed as falling under the premier’s remit.

China last year unveiled a sweeping government re-organisation that created a new Party entity to oversee some ministries. Shortly afterwards, the State Council also amended its working rules to clarify that executive decision-making power lies within the Party.

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