China to dismantle Railway Ministry

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China abolishes powerful Railways ministry battle against corruption

    China abolishes powerful Railways ministry in battle against corruption

    Xi Jinping, who will be rubber-stamped as the country's new president this week, has vowed to streamline government, cut costs and boost bureaucratic efficiency.

    The Railways ministry, a Soviet-style behemoth responsible for transporting 1.7 billion passengers last year, was an obvious target.


    The ministry's 2.1 million workers may have been responsible for rolling out, since 2007, the world's largest and fastest high-speed rail network, but corruption has been rife.

    In 2011, Liu Zhijun, the minister at the time, was put under investigation for graft. One source who used to work inside the ministry revealed to The Daily Telegraph that the price for a train attendant's job is as much as £10,000.

    And the ministry has often been a law unto itself. Until last August, it operated its own courts and police force. Its budget, meanwhile, was greater than the official Defence budget last year, at 745 billion yuan (£74 billion).

    "In recent years, the railways have developed in leaps and bounds. But it doesn't link smoothly with other modes of transport, and there are other problems," said Ma Kai, the senior Party leader who announced the government shake-up.

    He added that, in general, much government work had been "left undone" or was "done messily, with abuse of power and corruption". He said some areas needed more management, while others suffered from "too many cooks in the kitchen".

    He added: "The administrative system still has many areas not suited to the demands of new circumstances and duties".

    Also part of the proposals are plans to fold the Family Planning Commission, which has strictly overseen the one-child policy, drawing criticism for its policy of forced abortions, into the Health ministry.

    It is not clear whether this will mean an immediate change to the one-child policy, but the Chinese government is openly discussing its population strategy, after the size of the working population, aged 15 to 59, fell by 3.45 million people to 937 million last year.

    A recently retired official from the Family Planning Commission told Reuters the merger may not mean the end of the one-child policy, but that "it's possible that there will be fewer things done by force."

    A new super-agency, mimicking the United States Food and Drug Administration, will also be created in order to tackle growing public fears over contaminated food and medicine. And there will be a single regulator for the press, publishers, television, film and radio.

    China's disputes with Japan in the East China Sea will also be affected by plans to merge the country's maritime agencies into a single body which will manage the coast guard, fisheries law enforcement and anti-smuggling operations.

    China has been trimming the size of its bureaucracy for years. In 1982, the number of Cabinet-level ministries and departments was cut from 100 to 61.
    In 1998 the number was cut to 29. The latest plan will reduce that further to 25.


    Mr Xi has promised to take on entrenched interests and to step up the pace of reform. This bureaucratic reshuffle should help to break up some power bases. However, analysts were unsure how many government officials would actually depart.

    In Guangdong province, several districts have pioneered the abolition of unnecessary local government departments. But shedding staff has been more difficult. One district managed to create a department with 19 deputy heads.

    China abolishes powerful Railways ministry in battle against corruption - Telegraph

    ***************************************************

    Xi Jumping appears to be a man who has a clear cut vision as to how China can progress through an efficient manner of governance.

    It is bound to upset many an important personage who has used the system to build his nest egg. However, the power that the Head of Govt and in this case, Xi Jumping has, will ensure that such people are brought down to size.

    However, will corruption really be erradicated?

    Maybe not,.

    But there is hope that it will bring corruption down.
     
  2.  
  3. satish007

    satish007 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: China abolishes powerful Railways ministry battle against corrupt

    nobody can really control Chinese.
    xi is new leader, everyone like to kiss new leader ass even Ray, I can't believe it.
    Tibetan lamas write thank-you letter to Xi Jinping[1]|chinadaily.com.cn
    BEIJING - Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Saturday expressed his best wishes to Tibetans after receiving a 3-meter-long thank you letter from 108 Tibetan lamas.

    [​IMG]
    Latest News Tibetan lamas write thank-you letter to Xi Jinping
    (Xinhua)
    Updated: 2013-03-09 16:49

    Comments Print Mail Large Medium SmallBEIJING - Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Saturday expressed his best wishes to Tibetans after receiving a 3-meter-long thank you letter from 108 Tibetan lamas.



    Xi Jinping (L), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), receives a hada, a white silk scarf symbolizing respect and blessing, from a deputy to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) from southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, in Beijing, capital of China, March 9, 2013. Xi joined a discussion with the Tibet delegation attending the first session of the 12th NPC in Beijing on Saturday. [Photo/Xinhua]



    "Please convey my best wishes to all. Tashi delek," Xi said, using a Tibetan phrase for extending good luck and best wishes, while attending a panel discussion of the Tibetan delegation to the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC).


    NPC deputy Losang Tenpa presented Xi with a hada, a strip of raw silk and linen that conveys good blessings, as well as the hand-written thank you letter from the 108 high monks of Tibetan Buddhism.

    "The high monks in Tibet are grateful to the CPC for its religious policies, so they wrote the letter that I'm presenting to you," Losang Tenpa said.

    Xi also received hadas from another two Tibetan deputies.
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    (BEIJING) — In the annals of Chinese bureaucratic power, the Railways Ministry stood apart. Running everything from one of the world’s busiest rail systems to a special police force, the ministry was so pervasive and powerful it resisted government reform efforts for years. Chinese called it “Boss Railway.”

    On Sunday, the government gave notice it was firing the boss.

    Under a plan presented to the national legislature to restructure Cabinet departments, the government said it would dismantle the ministry, moving its railways operations into a newly created company and placing its regulatory offices in the Transport Ministry.


    The Railways Ministry isn’t the only target. Under the restructuring plan, two agencies that censor broadcasters and print media will be combined into a super media regulator; the commission that enforces the much disliked rules that limit many families to one child will be merged with the Health Ministry; and four agencies that police fisheries and other maritime resources are being united into one to better assert China‘s control over disputed waters, potentially sharpening conflicts with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

    Certain to be passed by the rubber-stamp legislature this week, the plan reflects the priorities of the newly installed Communist Party leadership as it seeks to reduce waste, boost efficiency and address quality of life issues for a more prosperous, demanding society.

    The scope and power of the Railways Ministry made it a natural place for the leadership to stamp its determination. As it expanded the railway system and built the world’s largest high-speed rail network, the ministry ran up hundreds of billions of dollars in debt and sank into corruption, giving critics an opportunity to pounce.

    Reformers crowed at the ministry’s abolition, saying it would further market reforms. “It means the country has removed the last ‘stronghold’ in the way of reforming the industry from a planned economy to market economy,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Wang Yiming, a government macro-economic researcher, as saying.

    Even the current — and seemingly last — railway minister had to bow to the inevitable.

    “I’ve no regrets. Whether I’m minister of railways or not is no matter,” Sheng Guangzu said on China National Radio. “The key is to develop China’s railways. I’m subordinate to the needs of the national cause.”

    Reform-minded Chinese leaders and officials had been trying to bring the railways to heel for 15 years when the government first started separating state companies from regulatory bodies. At each turn, the ministry resisted, using long-standing ties to the military and building a record for performance. Over the past decade, it created the showcase high-speed rail system touted by the leadership as a symbol for Chinese technological power on par with the manned space program.

    In announcing the restructuring, a senior Chinese official praised the progress but explained why the ministry must be abolished.

    “In recent years, the railways have developed in leaps and bounds and safeguarded the smooth running of the economy and the needs of people’s lives and production. But its government and enterprises are not separated. It doesn’t link smoothly with other modes of transport, and there are other problems,” Ma Kai, secretary-general of the State Council, the Cabinet, told the legislators.


    Complaints about the railways are common among Chinese. It’s the most popular form of long-distance transport, especially for Chinese who cannot afford to fly. But buying tickets is difficult, and food, drink and other services on trains are poor — problems often attributed to corruption.

    “Corruption? Of course there is in the railway bureau. There’s that Boss Railway!” Chang Shangxi, a 32-year-old businessman, said as he waited for a high-speed train in Shanghai this past week. “I am sure corruption causes corners to be cut and work to be faked as the companies have to make the money back that they spent on corruption.”

    The ministry’s ability to throw money around to get things done and preserve its power in the end helped bring it down. Liu Zhijun, the bullet train network’s top booster, was ousted as minister two years ago, amid accusations that he took massive bribes and steered contracts, some of them associated with the high-speed rail network. Among his rumored misdeeds: having 18 mistresses.

    Though he awaits trial, his fate — and perhaps the ministry’s — seemed sealed when bullet trains collided near the eastern city of Wenzhou in July 2011, killing 40 people and injuring 177. The accident outraged the country’s growing middle class — the prime users of the high-speed rail. Taking to social media sites, they questioned whether speedy development resulted in shoddy work. A government investigation cited design flaws and mismanagement.

    In the aftermath, the government began taking a harder look at corruption throughout the railways and the ministry. In one case, almost all of a $260 million railway line in the northeast had to be redone because unqualified sub-contractors filled bridge foundations with rocks and sand instead of concrete.

    The ministry employs 2.1 million staff and handled 1.8 billion passengers in 2011. Its subsidiary departments oversee all railway operations, and its companies are involved with everything from design of railways to construction and freight transport. Beyond that, there’s the Railway Art Troupe, which sings, dances and puts on acrobatic shows and operas. The China Locomotive Sports Team trains athletes in soccer, boxing, weightlifting, swimming, and track and field.

    Until last August, it operated its own courts, as it did a police force until 2009. Capital spending last year was 630 billion yuan ($100 billion) — rivaling the entire 670 billion yuan ($105 billion) military budget — and its mounting debts have worried the government.

    “Who is going to pay the debt that is expected to amount to nearly 3 trillion yuan?” said Zhao Jian, a railway expert at Beijing Jiaotong University. He said the official debt figure is 2.6 trillion yuan ($414 billion), but he estimates it will go higher as ongoing projects are completed.


    The reorganization is supposed to add further restraint. A newly created China Railway Corporation will build and manage freight and passenger services, while a railways administration under the Transport Ministry will set technical standards and enforce them.

    The railway so far has been able to rely for a large part on drawing revenues from freight and passenger services. A big challenge ahead is keeping that money coming in as competition from planes, cars and river transport increases.

    ___

    Associated Press researchers Yu Bing in Beijing and Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.


    China’s Leaders Take Aim at Railways Ministry | TIME.com
     
  5. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Its surprising to see that a ministry which brought super duper bullet trains is heavy in debt and is going to be dismantled. Something must have gone very wrong for this strong action. :laugh:
     
  6. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Tough decision. But if that is going to arrest corruption, its worth it.
     
  7. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Frankly don't understand why the long write-up saying "buying tickets is difficult". Nowadays train tickets are bought on line, or at TVM machine. Above all one has to buy with an ID card with name/number printed on tickets and check in with ID card (with or without the paper ticket) being scanned thus tickets scalpers zoom out, also thanks to increased supply (more HSR completed), unlike years before. Also many railways serve multiple purposes, like Qinghai - Tibet. Therefore not a totally commercial thing.

    Food is poor, svc bad?? Not what I perceive to be ground reality. Food may be expensive that's true but svc just fine - my quality criteria - hot water supply, good toilets, free magazines, free sockets for charging, wifi at rail stations, stewardesses. u'd better ask someone who has ridden on China Rail physically.

    As for that "mounting debt" it's more or less overhyped. Prior to this reform implementation Railway Ministry is a govnmental body under the "planned economy" not a commercial organization. Thus the govnmt can just write off its debts easily with taxpayer money. Many shall be worried abt price hiking once the Ministry is dismantled and China's railway is to be operated commercially though it's said to open the door for private investors.

    Corruption? That may be of those top brasses, but as for ordinary users that's not really obvious.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: China abolishes powerful Railways ministry battle against corrupt

    I may not appreciate many things of China or India, mostly populism or trying to keep the people down or muzzling them, but I do appreciate actions that ensures growth and progress and not pandering to populism.

    Xi's action hopefully will herald something worthwhile for China.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    What is svc?

    Is it some acronym for some Chinese centric action?
     
  10. satish007

    satish007 Senior Member Senior Member

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    @amoy, Ray is senior person, phone screen is too small to be read by senior person so he has not habit and ability to read SMS style acronym.
     
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  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @SATISH,

    It is the Forum's policy that SMS syntax is not allowed.

    As it is, spellings are getting atrocious all over the world as it is.

    Adding on to the bad spelling, if SMS syntax comes into being, then spellings would really go for a six.
    1 mst urstd tt else thgs get out hnd.cofsn prevl nd al OOs hpn.

    At least if it is in Chinese, we can use Google Translator, but that too gives wrong meanings and translations and that is why even a good language like Chinese or any language apart from English is not allowed.

    Now, that is the state in England - the home of the English Language!

    So, why go and add to atrocious spellings?

    Soon, we will forget to spell correctly and then forget the language in its totality!

    For instance, American meanings need not be English meanings or choice of words.

    Take the word 'rat's ass'. in the sentence 'I don't care a rat's ass'. I was confused. I thought that man thought other care for a rat's arse so much so that they peer into it 24 x 7. Then I was told that is an American expression meaning, one does not care less.

    The Americans write 'ass' for 'arse'.

    I wonder what word they use for a real ass (A hoofed mammal (genus Equus) of the horse family with a braying call, typically smaller than a horse and with longer ears.)

    So, already there is enough confusion!

    The spell check adds to it since it is based on the US English spellings!~
     
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  12. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Guru ji nowadays we're exposed to a big bang of info thus hav to read and write fast. besides operating on a small smartphone screen is utterly painful sometimes, compounded by the fact using English which's nver our mother tongue is already a grind. consequently SMS syntax alike comes into play occasionally so long as comprehensible.

    Also English has changed with time enormously so that we're familiar with such as Inglish with an ever expanding vocabulary needless to mention all kinds of weird accents in our day to day interations. English itself has evolved to be an all inclusive language.

    Furthermore resistance to SMS or abbreviations is similar to kind of linguistic paranoia. Excessive attention to spelling possibly leads to deviation from the basic role of English as a vehicle for communication merely.
     
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  13. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Thanks for asking. I did not experience any discomfort on China's HSR. There was almost no one on it so plenty of room to spread out. I had a couple stewardesses sitting with me for much of the trip to keep me company. They didn't have much to do. If they like you they will rub your feet.

    There is nothing overhyped about it. The ministry is in debt nearly half a trillion USD. They don't write it off, they roll it over until judgement day.

    What corruption is there to see from a user perspective? Bribe for a better seat? :laugh:
     
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  14. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    “In the long run we are all dead” - Keynes

    Should China's railway be fully commercialized the fare shall be doubled tripled or quadripled. Wait, too early to hurray dismantling the beloved "Railway Ministry".

    Bribe for a better seat?? Why bribe? Just walk around and find a vacant seat and sit for free!
     

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