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Public Sector Reform to Affect 30 Mln People

China Daily, April 18, 2012 Adjust font size:

The government has pledged to finish a fundamental reform that will likely affect about 30 million employees working in the public sector by the end of 2015, as part of an effort to improve the efficacy and competitiveness of these social segments, according to a guideline released on Monday.

The nine-chapter guideline on advancing the reform of public sectors, a comprehensive document that instructs a country-wide restructuring that could eventually affect all State-funded institutions, was made public on Monday, a year after being put into effect, and is expected to facilitate future reform.

The reform will be carried out in two phases, with the first stage to be completed by the end of 2015, when all public sectors should be classified and adopt corresponding approaches to implement the reform.

After that, a deeper restructuring involving changes in salaries and benefits, such as healthcare and pensions, will be completed by 2020, according to the guideline.

The documents categorize public sectors into three divisions: administrative, public and productive institutions.

Administrative organizations, which have functions similar to a government department, will be merged into suitable government agencies.

The productive organizations, such as theaters, will transform into enterprise-like companies, meaning that they will no longer receive government funding.

Public institutions such as compulsory education, meanwhile, are expected to receive more revenue and have more personnel quota to improve their services.

Han Zijing, an associate professor at Chongqing Normal University, said salary changes are one reason he welcomes the reform.

"In the past, as an associate professor, I earned the same amount of money for teaching regardless of whether I taught three or eight courses. Extra work didn't merit more payment, and everybody only took care of the basic work and never worked more," she said. "But after the reform, my income will vary depending on the amount of work I perform, which makes me want to do more. It is a good way to increase efficiency."

But not everyone has benefited from the reform. Employees at the China Arts and Entertainment Group have seen fundamental changes in their wage and security systems.

The company, one of the largest businesses in China that introduces overseas shows to the domestic market, was established in 2004 on the basis of two State-funded institutions that used to receive financial support from the Ministry of Culture.

In a pilot restructuring that started in 2004, the company along with three other enterprises affiliated with the Ministry of Culture cut 1,020 personnel and turned their employees into contract workers. The change meant that the welfare of the employees, which used to be similar to civil servants, would be reevaluated based on their performances.

By 2009, the company's assets had nearly tripled, according to statistics provided on the company's website.

Yang Yu, a news analyst for China Central Television, said during a broadcast on Monday that it is necessary to issue an all-in-one document to lead future reform from a macroscopic perspective, since previous experience has proved "the complexity of the issue".

Wang Yukai, a professor with Chinese Academy of Governance, said the reform will affect the interests of many and has been met with "reluctance from inside the institutions".


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