'Hub' aides told to better serve people

Updated: 2015-12-25 08:01

By Zhao Huanxin and Li Xiaokun(China Daily)

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Premier says looming challenges call for greater efforts to overcome hurdles to national growth

Government secretaries-general as well as general office administrators are being urged to better serve the country's social and economic development by speaking out on problems and ensuring that central policies are implemented to the letter.

Such efforts are all the more important in 2016, the beginning of the country's next five-year plan period, in which China is projected to sustain a "medium-high growth level", Premier Li Keqiang told the top aides of central government agencies and provincial-level governments.

The premier was speaking to delegates at a national meeting of secretaries-general and general office administrators in Beijing on Monday.

State Councilor Yang Jing, who is secretary-general of the State Council, attended and addressed the meeting, which ended on Tuesday.

In China, a secretary-general at a central government agency or provincial-level government is usually tasked with chairing development research centers and receiving directions from top officials. Together with general office administrators, they take care of the day-to-day operations of a local government or a central government agency.

"For the decisions of the central authorities to be carried out, you are the veritable hub," without which the state apparatus would run much less efficiently and possibly cease to function, Li said.

The premier credited the secretaries-general and office administrators with ensuring normal and efficient operation of the government this year. However, he said they need to exert more effort in 2016, when difficulties and uncertainties loom on a scale no smaller than that of this year. "I hope you'll continue to serve as top advisers to the government," Li said.

He urged the aides to report the true situation based on fact-finding and investigation at grass-root levels and at enterprises, and to help find solutions to problems that hinder development.

In addition, the premier asked the aides to assume the responsibility of supervising the implementation of the various policies and measures made by central authorities, to make sure they are carried out fully and produce tangible benefits for the people.

"It is no easy job to serve as 'chief servant' of the government," Li said. "You need to be capable of macroscopic thinking as well as doing work of a practical nature, sometimes even reducing yourself to a proofreader," Li said.

Mao Shoulong, a professor at the School of Public Administration and Policy at Renmin University of China, said these top aides should know well the overall social and economic situation of their respective regions. Instead of appeasing their bosses, they should think and speak from the perspective of the public, Mao said.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that in China, a qualified secretary-general is always one who has worked in many positions and is always a good coordinator. "They are endowed with much power, and are prone to corruption if they do not work in line with the law and rules," Zhu said.

Tang Renwu, president of the Economics and Management School of Beijing Normal University, said there should be a set of criteria to gauge the efficiency of the top aides of provincial-level governments.

"At the moment, they measure the work efficiency of those in their subordinate departments, but they are not measured," Tang said.

Contact the writer at zhaohuanxin@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 12/25/2015 page3)