Reform in 31 Flavors: Rise of the Third Plenum Implementation

Recently, there was a media blitz in China suggesting that of the 60 reforms suggested by the Third Plenum last October, 31 have already begun to be implemented. The version of the report published on (a popular online news portal in China) emphasized the significant moves already made in the anti-corruption push, the administrative approval system reform, and the modifications to the One Child Policy.  Each reform that has begun to be implemented was listed with its corresponding number from the Third Plenum document.  Not all of the explanatory descriptions that accompanied the reforms were very illuminating as to what has been achieved.  Often, the descriptions merely stated a new document was created in the last few months without elaborating what the document said or mandated. Nonetheless, below is a translation with explanations for some key reform provisions:

#6 ç§¯æžå‘å±•æ··åˆæ‰ æ ‰åˆ¶ç»æµŽ “ Active Development of a Mixed Ownership Economy “ In February of this year, the director of the State Property Management Commission, which oversees state-owned enterprises, announced that the central government and the State Property Commission were working together to improve the management of SOEs and increase SOE modernization.

#7 æŽ¨åŠ¨å›½æ ‰ä¼ä¸šå®Œå–„çŽ°ä»£ä¼ä¸šåˆ¶åº¦ “ Push for State-Owned Enterprise Modernization System “ Director Zhang Yi of the State Property Management Commission announced plans to define reasonable salary levels for SOE managers and staff, while establishing a robust system for auditing and monitoring of financial affairs.

#9 å»ºç«‹å…¬å¹³å¼ æ”¾é æ˜Žçš„å¸‚å ºè§„åˆ™ “ Establish a Fair and Open System of Market Rules and Regulations

#10 å®Œå–„ä¸»è¦ç”±å¸‚å ºå†³å®šä»·æ ¼çš„æ ºåˆ¶ “ Improve Decision Mechanism for Market Prices

#12 å®Œå–„é‡‘èžå¸‚å ºä½“ç³»- Improve Financial Market Systems

# 13 æ·±åŒ–ç§‘æŠ ä½“åˆ¶æ”¹é© “ Deepen Science and Technology Reform “ This reform actually has to do with increasing intellectual property rights and combating counterfeit products.

#14 健全宏观调控体系 “ Robust Macro-control Regulation System

#15 å…¨é¢æ­£ç¡®å±¥è¡Œæ”¿åº èŒèƒ½ “ Comprehensive and Proper Implementation of Government Roles

#17改进预算管理制度 “ Improve Budgetary Supervision System

#18 完善税收制度 “ Improve Taxation System

#19 å»ºç«‹äº‹æƒå’Œæ”¯å‡ºè´£ä»»ç›¸é ‚åº”çš„åˆ¶åº¦- Establish a Mutually Suited System of Authority and Payment Responsibility

#20 åŠ å¿«æž„å»ºæ–°åž‹å† ä¸šç»è¥ä½“ç³» “ Accelerate and Construct a New Type of Agricultural Operation System

#23 å®Œå–„åŸŽé•‡åŒ–å¥åº·å‘å±•ä½“åˆ¶æ ºåˆ¶ “ Improve Urbanization Development Mechanism

#24 放宽投资准入 “ Relax Investment Access

#26 æ‰©å¤§å†…é™†æ²¿è¾¹å¼ æ”¾- Expand Inland and Border Area Opening

#33 å¥å…¨å¸æ³•æƒåŠ›è¿è¡Œæ ºåˆ¶ “ Robust Judicial Authority Mechanisms

#34 å®Œå–„äººæƒå¸æ³•ä¿éš åˆ¶åº¦ “ Improve Human Rights Judicial Safeguard System

#36 åŠ å¼ºåè…è´¥ä½“åˆ¶æ ºåˆ¶åˆ›æ–°å’Œåˆ¶åº¦ä¿éš “ Reinforce Anti-Corruption Mechanism and Innovate Safeguard System

#37 å¥å…¨æ”¹è¿›ä½ é£Žå¸¸æ åŒ–åˆ¶åº¦ “ Robust Improvements to Normalization of Relations System

#42 深化教育领域综合改革 “ Comprehensive Education Reform

#43 å¥å…¨ä¿ƒè¿›å°±ä¸šåˆ›ä¸šä½“åˆ¶æ ºåˆ¶ “ Promote an Employment Seeking System Initiative “ Reforms meant to help job-seekers and to fight discrimination in the workplace.

#45 å»ºç«‹æ›´åŠ å…¬å¹³å¯æŒç»­çš„ç¤¾ä¼šä¿éš åˆ¶åº¦ “ Establish a more Fair and Sustainable Social Security System

#46 深化医药卫生体制改革 “ Deepen Healthcare System Reform “Many provinces have already stopped implementing the one child policy and replaced it with a two children limit instead.

#48 æ¿ å‘ç¤¾ä¼šç»„ç»‡æ´»åŠ› “ Invigorate Civil Society Organizations

#49 åˆ›æ–°æ ‰æ•ˆé¢„é˜²å’ŒåŒ–è§£ç¤¾ä¼šçŸ›ç›¾ä½“åˆ¶ “ Innovate Effective Societal Conflict Prevention System “ Reformed and expanded a new system of citizen letters of complaint to make them more localized.

#50 健全公共安全体系 “ Robust Public Safety System – On January 24th, Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo meeting was held to research and establish a central national security committee.

#52 åˆ’å®šç”Ÿæ ä¿æŠ¤çº¢çº¿ “ Demarcate an Ecological Protection Red Line “ On December 2nd, 2013 the State Council Published a National Nature Reserve Revision Supervisory Provision .

#54 æ”¹é©ç”Ÿæ çŽ¯å¢ƒä¿æŠ¤ç®¡ç†ä½“åˆ¶ “ Reform the Environmental Protection Management System “ On February 7th, the head of the Environmental Protection Ministry provided six aspects of the ecological management system be reformed, including the emissions permit system which is China's cap and trade system.

#57 推动军民融合深度发展 “ Advance the Development of Army-Civilian Harmony  – The Defense Ministry announced the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Zone.  What this has to do with Army-Civilian relations is unknown, but perhaps its effectively meant to show the army bending to the will of the people by taking a tough stance on the Diaoyu Island conflict with Japan.

#58 中央成立全面深化改革领导- Establishing a Central Government Leading Small Group on Deep Comprehensive Reform “ On December 30th, the Politburo held a conference, with Xi Jinping once again establishing a leading small group, this time on reform.  Leading small groups are an integral part of the Chinese government's system that are used to design and implement priority policies of the central government.  Small group leader positions are generally distributed among Standing Committee members.  The fact that Xi Jinping is taking point in all matters of reform (instead of, for example, Li Keqiang, the Premier and second-ranking member of the Standing Committee who is known for his economic policy acumen) demonstrates the extent to which Xi has consolidated power.

59 深化干部人事制度改革 “ Deepen Cadre Human Resources Reform “ On December 30th, the Politburo released a document outlining revisions to the official party cadre promotion system.

The fact that over half of the 60 reforms from the Third Plenum have begun demonstrates the commitment of the Xi Administration and the 18th Party Congress to reform.  We will watch in the upcoming months to see if these implementations of new policy are effective.

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Marika Heller

is a second-year MPIA student at IRPS with International Economics, Management, and China concentrations and Editor-in-Chief of the China Focus blog. She holds a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Chinese from Middlebury College, and an M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute. She lived in Chengdu, China for two and a half years where she worked at a sustainable development NGO doing micro-finance and earthquake relief, and also at an international marketing and entertainment company.

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