context: Xi Jinping has promised to push forward sci-tech systemic reform at the biennial conference of state academicians. A new leading group will orchestrate these efforts.

State Council renamed National Science, Technology and Education Leading Group to National Science and Technology Leading Group. The group is co-presided by Li Keqiang and vice-premier Liu He 刘鹤. Its office falls under Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and is chaired by Wang Zhigang 王志刚 MoST minister. Other members include

  • He Lifeng 何立峰 National Development and Reform Commission director
  • Chen Baosheng 陈宝生 Ministry of Education minister
  • Miao Wei 苗圩 Minister of Industry and Information Technology minister
  • Liu Kun 刘昆 Ministry of Finance minister
  • Zhang Jinan 张纪南 Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MoHRSS) minister
  • Han Changfu 韩长赋 Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs minister
  • Yi Gang 易纲 People’s Bank of China director
  • Xiao Yaqing 肖亚庆 State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission director
  • Bai Chunli 白春礼 Chinese Academy of Science president
  • Li Xiaohong 李晓红 Chinese Academy of Engineering president
  • Liu Guozhi 刘国治 Central Military Commission (CMC) Sci-Tech Committee director
  • Huai Jinpeng 怀进鹏 China Association for Sci-Tech (CAST) governor 
  • Gao Yu 高雨 member of State Council party group

The group’s tasks are

  • drafting and assessing major national sci-tech strategies, plans and policies
  • examining and assessing major sci-tech research projects
  • coordinating major affairs among ministries and local authorities

The Sci-Tech and Education Leading Group was set up in June 1998 and last met in December 2015, says Economic Observer, when members reviewed progress and problems throughout the period of the 12th 5-year plan and laid down goals and targets for the 13th 5-year plan period. WeChat Account China Reform Studies, interprets the reshuffle as aimed at

  • prioritising sci-tech affairs, with education likely going to a new leading group
  • preventing intra-ministerial conflicts of interest and local protectionism
  • promoting scientific knowledge among the general public through CAST, an addition to the Leading Group
  • improving human resource management, particularly incentivising researchers and attracting foreign talent, through MoHRSS
  • expediting civil-military integration through CMC