context: Xinhua has finally released plans for institutional Party reform, following reveals of a resolution for reform and a state overhaul before and during the Two Sessions. Most notable in the restructuring is the expanding role of the Party over the state.

The eighth round of institutional reform has been released with a tight timetable for implementation, according to Zhengzhijian, a Beijing government affiliated opinion platform

  • central and national level be completely implemented by 2018
  • provincial level to begin adjustment phase by 2018
  • all local-level reform to be completed by March 2019

In place of the leading group announced at the 19th Party Congress, the plans announced a central commission for rules-based governance. Four other leading groups devoted to deepening reforms, cyber-security, finance and economy, and foreign affairs also were converted to central commissions, adds the author. Along with those devoted to auditing, national security, and civil–military integration, these commissions have become the most important institutions for central policymaking, deliberation, and coordination, argues the author.

Another trend in this restructuring is more responsibilities going to Party institutions, such as

  • Central Organisation Department absorbing
    • Central Commission Office of Public Sector Reform
    • State Administration of Civil Service
  • Central Publicity Department absorbing the management functions for media, press and films
  • Central United Front Department absorbing
    • State Ethnic Affairs Commission
    • State Bureau of Religious Affairs
    • State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office
  • Central Political and Legal Committee absorbing some functions involving stability maintenance and cult prevention