Even amidst unity at the top, Xu suggests, agency interests are often at odds when it comes to policymaking. Those charged with steering the drafting of policy documents lack authority to resolve these disputes, and the increasing pressure to get policy out into the field means that in the eyes of some ‘real problems’ get bypassed.
economy: small giants, rural financial services, recapitalising financial markets, oil and gas reform
Helping SMEs become highly specialised and innovative ‘small giants’ is a 2019 priority, said Miao Wei 苗圩 as his Ministry of Industry and IT launched a C¥60 bn financial guarantee fund for SMEs.
On 23 January, Wang Junzheng 王君正 Changchun Party secretary chaired the first meeting of the city’s expanded Production Safety Committee, reviewing its work in 2018 and setting 2019 goals. Less than 3 weeks later, just as Spring Festival celebrations concluded, came news of Wang’s transfer to Xinjiang to serve on the province’s Standing Committee.
Bring our annual arts special home for Chinese New Year and immerse yourself in contemporary gongbi fine line painting. This year, Julie Segraves, executive director of the Asian Art Coordinating Council (AACC) in Denver, guides us through the oeuvre of six painters pushing the traditional brush techniques of bird-and-flower paintings in unique new directions.
Party and government officials insist central policy goals have not changed, and 2019 is a crucial year for achieving them. What is new is the urgency with which challenges to reform are conveyed, and the opportunity for local reforms.
A new college examination and admission system or gaokao is emerging from the most radical education reform since 1977. In September 2014, State Council greenlit Zhejiang and Shanghai to shake up ‘exam-oriented education’, eliminating performance-based streaming, overemphasis on grades and obsession with gaokao scores in college admission.
NEVs, which are exempt from purchase tax, are deemed the long-term growth market for the auto industry. Sales grew 61.7 percent by volume in 2018.
In early 2018, Beijing set a goal of making ‘significant progress’ in preventing financial risk, with emphasis on internal controls, regulations, and local borrowing discipline. November statistics showed slower than anticipated growth, and the Q3 Politburo meeting fretted over economic slowdown, removing all reference to de-leveraging and containing housing prices.
Deepened supervision of Party cadres and their conduct is now accompanied by tighter oversight of civil servants, as revisions to the Civil Service Law emphasise firmer control, including evaluations based on political requirements.
Pressured by economic slowdown and external political tensions, Beijing is promoting consumption and supporting the service and high-tech sectors at home. The Q4 Politburo meeting and 2018 Central Economic Work Conference (CWEC) both stressed the need for a robust domestic market.
Ag insurance protects crop producers, safeguards against poverty and creates non-farm employment—all top policy priorities for 2019. Policymakers hope a tie-up with futures markets will get insurers on board.
economy: MIIT work conference, central work conferences, power sector reform, inward-looking economy
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) 2019 priorities include tighter fuel economy standards for autos, spurring private investment in sci-tech innovation and building an identifier system for the industrial internet.