A girl plays with her newborn brother at a hospital in Nanjing, Jiangsu province,on Oct 24. 2014. [Photo/VCG]

Three departments responsible for implementing family planning policies have been removed from the new structure of the National Health Commission, the commission has announced on its website.

The departments have been replaced with a new one that will focus on population monitoring and family development, and will be responsible for putting forward advice related to birth policies.

Three new departments have also been set up to take charge of work related to family health, eldercare and occupational health, according to the announcement, released on Monday.

It detailed 14 specific responsibilities of the commission after the organizational restructuring, including formulating national health policy, coordinating and deepening medical and healthcare system reforms, disease prevention and control, and formulating pharmaceutical policies.

After restructuring, the commission now has 21 departments, with 525 administrative staff members. It emphasized the importance of building a comprehensive system for disease prevention and tackling challenges arising from an aging population.

In March, “family planning” was dropped from the commission’s name as part of a sweeping government overhaul to reform official departments and reduce red tape.

The removal of the three departments that used to enforce family planning policies triggered public conjecture that the government may be planning to scrap long-standing limits on the number of children its citizens can have.

“The restructuring doesn’t mean that family planning will no longer exist,” said Yuan Xin, a population studies expert at Tianjin’s Nankai University.

“But in the new era, the major tasks have shifted from birth control to providing comprehensive reproductive services in support of the development of families.”

As of 2017, people age 60 and older accounted for about 16.2 percent of China’s population.

About a third of the country’s population will be over 60 by 2050, according to the China National Working Committee on Aging.

By comparison, the number of working-age people is set to fall to 700 million-a decline of nearly a quarter.

Alarmed by the rapidly aging population and shrinking workforce, the government relaxed the family planning policy, which was introduced in 1979, and implemented a two-child policy in 2016.

“The establishment of the new department to serve the aging population shows the government’s attention to the elderly. But issues related to an aging population cannot simply be solved by boosting the birthrate. Instead, enhancing our competitiveness in the global market and maintaining stable economic growth is the solution,” Yuan said.

Apart from the commission, several other ministerial departments recently released restructuring plans, such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

[Photo/VCG]

A new draft law that aims to intensify management of vaccines to ensure their safety and quality, approved by China’s State Council, will be submitted to the top legislature for approval.

The draft of the Vaccine Management Law, released by the State Administration for Market Regulation in November, was approved by the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of the National People’s Congress on Sunday, the committee said in a statement on Sunday.

The draft will be submitted to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for review, the statement said.

Jiao Hong, chief of the National Medical Products Administration, which is under the State Administration for Market Regulation, while elaborating the draft to members of the NPC Standing Committee on Sunday, said the draft imposes the strictest supervision system on vaccines, including research and development, production, circulation and use.

Producers must use digital means to record data concerning production and inspection of vaccines, and ensure authenticity, integrity and tractability of these data, according to the draft.

Approval procedures and inspections must cover every batch of vaccines before they enter the market, it said.

Health and drug authorities should supervise the whole chain of vaccines, covering their research and development, production, circulation and use, and drug authorities should intensify site inspection of vaccine production and dispatch inspectors to vaccine producers, the draft said.

Serious law violators, such as those producing fake or substandard vaccines, will receive harsher penalties, according to the draft of the law. In such cases, senior executives and others involved will have all their pay related to the violations confiscated and pay fines, and they may be banned for life from engaging in the pharmaceutical business.

“Our 40 Years,” a grand gala in celebration of the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, is held in Beijing, capital of China, Dec 14, 2018. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan were among the Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders who joined more than 3,000 people to watch the gala at the Great Hall of the People. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping and other Party and State leaders attended a grand gala marking the 40th anniversary of the country’s historic journey of reform and opening-up on Friday night.

The gala, held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, showcased China’s great achievements since reform and opening-up was initiated by late leader Deng Xiaoping in 1978.

Over the past 40 years, China has recorded an average annual GDP growth rate of around 9.5 percent, fostered a middle-income population of 400 million and lifted more than 700 million Chinese people out of poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total.

The gala was among a series of recent high-profile official activities commemorating reform and opening-up.

On Nov 13, Xi visited a major exhibition at the National Museum of China to commemorate the 40th anniversary.

Friday also saw the global release of a cross-border, coproduced documentary to review the achievements of reform and opening-up in the National Museum of China. The three-episode production How China Made It is being aired on online streaming platform Youku.com and broadcast worldwide through the US-based Discovery Channel starting Saturday.

The coproduction, filmed using ultra-high-definition technology, is a joint production of the China Intercontinental Communication Center, a State-owned media group in China; the Discovery Channel; Youku; and Meridian Line Films, an independent production company based in Yorkshire, England.

The voice-over is in English, with English-Chinese bilingual subtitles.

In the documentary, many ordinary Chinese people from different fields are invited to share their personal experiences in recent decades to reflect the huge development of society and the economy of the country.

“Our 40 Years,” a grand gala in celebration of the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, is held in Beijing, capital of China, Dec 14, 2018. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan were among the Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders who joined more than 3,000 people to watch the gala at the Great Hall of the People. [Photo/Xinhua]

“This production chooses individual touches to better tell Chinese stories because each one of us is a witness to this great process,” Chen Lujun, director of CICC, said.

“China, on one hand, preserves the traditional colors of Eastern culture,” he said. “But it unrolls a dazzling modern picture as well. It’s our responsibility to help the rest of the world better understand this country.”

“Reform and opening-up not only changes China,” said Tony Qiu, general manager of the Discovery Channel in China. “This unique path to success also has a lasting influence in other countries.

“This project combines local elements with a cross-cultural mindset and viewing habits,” he said. “That way, it can vividly show that China has developed together with the whole world.”

Contact the writers at [email protected]

President Xi Jinping straightens the red ribbons on baskets as he pays tribute to national heroes at the Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tian’anmen Square on Sunday. Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, joined representatives from all walks of life to mark the country’s Martyrs’ Day on the eve of National Day. XIE HUANCHI / XINHUA

Country marks fifth Martyrs’ Day; Premier Li pledges continued reforms

President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders of the Communist Party of China participated in a number of events on Sunday in Beijing, including a ceremony commemorating the country’s martyrs and a grand reception to celebrate National Day.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission and other leaders paid tribute and laid floral baskets at the Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tian’anmen Square to honor national heroes on the annual Martyrs’ Day. They were joined by veterans, family members of martyrs and several others.

Martyrs’ Day was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 2014 to honor those who sacrificed their lives for national independence and prosperity.

The reception was held late on Sunday in the Great Hall of the People. Before that, Xi met with nine Sichuan Airlines crew members of flight 3U8633, who were invited to join the event.

They were named as a “China Aviation Hero Crew” in June for a successful emergency landing that saved the lives of 119 passengers following a broken cockpit window in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on May 14.

The president said safety is the lifeline of the civil aviation industry and should be given great attention at all times. Civil aviation authorities and service providers should correctly handle the dynamic between safety and profit, he said.

Premier Li Keqiang noted in a speech at the reception that this year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. Reform is the fundamental driving force for China’s development, and the country’s determination to advance reform and opening-up will remain as strong as ever, he said.

China will firmly uphold the rules-based multilateral system, open up at a higher level, and share development opportunities and outcomes with other countries while upholding its own interests, Li said. Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative will be boosted to ensure win-win progress, and new areas will be explored through complementarity and mutual opening-up, he said.

The country will continue putting people first in its development endeavors and address their concerns with effective measures, Li said. China will seek to better deliver targeted poverty relief, employment, education, medical care and eldercare by increasing inputs, rationalizing relevant institutions, boosting supplies and providing better services, he said.

Li said China will continue its major policies on Taiwan, uphold the one-China principle and adhere to the 1992 Consensus. The country will firmly safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and never allow any separatist attempt or activity for “Taiwan independence” in any form, he said. A broader market and more diverse development opportunities for Taiwan compatriots and enterprises by expanding cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation will be promoted, he said.

On Sunday afternoon, the premier met with a number of new foreign ambassadors and winners of this year’s Chinese Government Friendship Award in the Great Hall of the People.

The high-speed train D8501 enters the Mudanjiang railway station, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, on Nov 29, 2018. [Photo/IC]

Nine government agencies have issued a notice calling for punishment of people who misbehave on transportation during the Spring Festival travel rush.

The notice, issued by agencies including the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Transport, said bad behavior includes a range of actions on roads, railways, urban transportation, passenger vessels and in civil aviation-from interfering with safe driving on buses to taking others’ seats on high-speed trains or disrupting social order on an aircraft.

Offenders will be banned from rail or air travel for a period of time. According to the national credit information sharing platform, creditchina.gov.cn, 5,099 people have been banned from purchasing air tickets since June, with 1,604 banned from buying train tickets.

The notice said all misbehavior should be included in offenders’ credit records. For example, violations on trains, which include smoking, traveling without tickets, failing to pay surcharges upon arrival, reselling tickets, using a fake ID or disrupting public order or railway safety, should all be recorded.

It said transport authorities should strengthen education and training of personnel to better deal with misbehavior, encourage passengers to participate in stopping criminal behavior that interferes with safe driving and cooperate with public security departments to punish bad behavior.

The campaign focusing on the transport sector is part of a broader move to improve behavior, toughen sanctions on wrongdoers and enhance public security and order amid an ongoing national campaign promoting Chinese credibility.

“A social credit system is indispensable for any modern government,” said Zhu Lijia, professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance. “Instead of giving fines or other light penalties, putting severe offenders on a public blacklist will be more effective in constraining their behavior.”

This year’s seven-day Spring Festival holiday runs from Feb 4 to 10, starting with Lunar New Year’s Eve. More than 2.99 billion trips are expected to be made during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush beginning on Jan 21, including 2.46 billion by car, 413 million by rail, 73 million by plane and 43 million by ship.

President Xi Jinping talks with workers at a State-owned farm in Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang province, on Tuesday, the first day of his inspection visit to the province. He had detailed talks with farmworkers and managers on production and management. [Photo/Xinhua]

Food security, manufacturing called key areas

President Xi Jinping underlined the importance of self-reliance in food security, the real economy and manufacturing on Wednesday as the country faces rising unilateralism and trade protectionism internationally.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said during a field inspection to Heilongjiang province that unilateralism and trade protectionism are forcing China to take a path of self-reliance, which, he said, “is not a bad thing”.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to gain access to leading technologies and key technologies internationally, and China will ultimately rely on itself, Xi said.

As a major country of close to 1.4 billion people and with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers, China should rely on itself in key areas, he said.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, speaks at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing on Jan 11, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – The 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted a communique at its third plenary session held from Friday to Sunday.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addressed the session, while other Party and state leaders, including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng, attended the meeting.

A work report of CCDI, delivered by Zhao Leji, head of the CCDI, was passed at the session, according to the communique.

CCDI members agreed that it is an important political task for all the Party members to carefully study and implement Xi’s speech delivered at the session, the communique said.

The top priority of the CCDI’s work in 2019 remains firmly safeguarding Xi’s status as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the whole Party, as well as the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the communique said.

CCDI will work to make “greater strategic achievements” in full and strict governance over the Party and consolidate the “sweeping victory” of the campaign against corruption, according to the communique.

Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), delivers a work report titled “faithfully fulfil the obligations stipulated in the CPC Constitution and the Constitution of the country, and strive for high-quality development of disciplinary inspection and supervision work in the new era” on behalf of the CCDI standing committee at the third plenary session of the 19th CCDI of the CPC in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 11, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

The communique listed eight priorities for 2019.

— CCDI will continue to study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and upgrade the education campaign with the theme “staying true to our founding mission.”

— It will take up resolute actions against the practice of formalities for formalities’ sake and bureaucratism.

— The institution of disciplinary inspection and supervision will be innovated to enhance the effectiveness of governance.

— It aims to make breakthroughs in regular and long-term supervision.

— Inspection on the implementation of political rules will be intensified, and the strategic structure of disciplinary inspections improved.

— CCDI will direct its anti-graft actions to key projects, fields and posts, particularly departments and sectors where power is centralized and money and resources are intensive.

— The efforts to address corruption and malpractices that occur on people’s doorsteps will be continued so the people will have a stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security.

— CCDI will develop an “iron army” of disciplinary inspection and supervision officials who are loyal, clean and have a strong sense of responsibility.

Huo Ronggui [File Photo]

The former deputy director of the agriculture and rural affairs committee of the Gansu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Huo Ronggui, has been expelled from Party and removed from public office for serious violations of discipline and the law, Gansu’s discipline authorities announced on Thursday.

They said Huo violated political disciplines and rules when serving as deputy director and director of the Gansu provincial government’s general office, deputy secretary-general of the Gansu government and Party chief of the city of Wuwei.

The authorities said Huo ran counter to decisions on major issues by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, operated small circles in government and business to conspire for profits, refused to implement central inspection and rectification requirements, fought against inspection by the authorities, and abused and beat up leading cadres and staff.

The 57-year-old also violated the eight-point frugality code, including occupying high-end hotel suites for long periods of time, frequently accessing private clubs, and illegally purchasing expensive gifts with public funds.

He also frequently adjusted a large number of official positions at will and took money from others in the promotion and appointment of cadres. He accepted gifts and money which may have affected the impartial performance of his official duties and also took advantage of his position to provide assistance to his relatives to gain profits in business operations.

Huo violated regulations by intervening in market economy activities and interfered with the autonomy of businesses in production and management, engaged in image projects and political performance projects, and caused heavy economic losses.

Huo also maintained long-term improper sexual relationships with several women. He was suspected of bribery, embezzling public funds, and abuse of power to commit crimes.

The authorities said Huo, a leading provincial cadres, had lost his ideals, faith and Party principles. He regarded the places he was in charge of as private domains, chasing quick success and instant benefit.

Born in 1962, Huo was appointed deputy director of the general office of the Gansu provincial government in 2001, and became Party chief of Wuwei in 2010. He took up the position of deputy director of the agriculture and rural affairs committee of the Gansu Provincial Committee of the CPPCC in 2017.

Huo was placed under investigation in July. The suspected crimes and property involved in his case have been transferred to the procuratorate for review and prosecution.

Yang Zekun contributed to this story.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development rejected a report on Thursday that said monetary compensation for shantytown renovation led to rising property prices. Instead, it said the policy has helped promote healthy development of the real estate market and will be fine-tuned in accordance with each city’s conditions.

The policy will be improved, and soon will be adjusted for cities and counties with inadequate inventories and huge upward pressure on property prices, said Ni Hong, vice-minister of housing and urban-rural development, at a policy briefing hosted by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.

However, monetary compensation is not necessarily connected with housing prices, and it has played a positive role in stabilizing land prices and market expectations in third- and fourth-tier cities, Ni said.

In 2015, some cities carried out favorable measures in monetary compensation when they had large housing inventories, he said, adding that such compensation contributed to inventory reduction and achieving a balance between supply and demand in the real estate market.

Now some cities don’t have enough inventory and need supportive policies, so targeted policies should be carried out for each city to promote shantytown renovation and a healthy development for the real estate market, Ni said.

We will adjust favorable policies in monetary compensation in line with local conditions, instead of canceling such compensation, the vice-minister added.

The briefing came after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Monday, which decided to boost shantytown renovation across the country and complete this year’s target.

More than 100 million residents have moved from shabby houses to newly built buildings. The Government Work Report, delivered by Li in March, set this year’s target to start construction of 5.8 million apartments for shantytown renovation.

From January to September, construction began on 5.34 million apartments, 92 percent of the year’s target.

Local governments were urged to start such renovation projects, according to the three-year plan set by the Government Work Report. Meanwhile, infrastructure should be completed along with the projects, and quality and safety must be ensured.

Shantytown renovation has played a vital role in improving living conditions for the disadvantaged population and expanding demand, Ni said. This year focuses on shantytowns in older city areas, State-owned mining areas, and forestry and farming areas, he said.

Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, addresses a grand gathering in Nanning, capital of Southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Dec 10, 2018, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the region’s founding. Wang led a central delegation to attend festivities marking the anniversary. [Photo/Xinhua]

NANNING — China’s top political advisor Wang Yang on Monday congratulated South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on its remarkable achievements over the past six decades.

He made the remarks when addressing a grand gathering in Nanning, capital of Guangxi, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the region’s founding.

Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, led a central delegation to attend festivities marking the anniversary.

Guangxi has achieved giant leaps in economic development, big strides in reform and opening-up, great improvement of people’s living standard, notable progress in its ecological environment and strengthened ethnic unity over the past 60 years, Wang said.

Such remarkable achievements have demonstrated the great strengths of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the strong vitality of the system of regional ethnic autonomy, Wang said.

He stressed that Guangxi should always uphold the leadership of the CPC and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, adhere to a new vision for development, be committed to deepening reform in all areas and opening up further, ensuring and improving living standards through development, and upholding and improving the system of regional ethnic autonomy.

A total of 22,000 local cadres and people of various ethnic groups and from all walks of life attended the gathering.

On Monday morning, the delegation led by Wang visited an exhibition showcasing the region’s achievements made in the past six decades, especially those during China’s 40 years of reform and opening up, including progress in economy, politics, culture, society and ecology.

Wang also heard work reports of the CPC Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional Committee and regional government of Guangxi.

When hearing the reports, Wang said after 60 years of hard work, Guangxi has seen remarkable changes in both urban and rural areas, with the once impoverished and backward region turning into a place of prosperity and openness.

Wang attributed the progress to the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee, joint efforts by cadres and people of all ethnic groups in the region, and strong supports from people across the nation.

Wang said the region faces historic development opportunities in the new era, calling for more efforts to pursue high-quality development, eliminate poverty and strengthen ethnic unity.