Li Keqiang

Implement reforms with sincerity, Li Keqiang tells cabinet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 3:50am

Premier Li Keqiang urged his cabinet members to strictly observe new guidelines on the overhaul of government operations, as he chaired his first full cabinet meeting to formally kick-start the new administration.

Li, who was appointed to head the cabinet last week, made the remarks in Wednesday's State Council plenary meeting, which was also intended to discuss the division of labour among state council leaders and to approve new work guidelines - the State Council Work Rules, according to a China Central Television report last night.

"The government should mean what it says, and should not fire empty shells," Li said, referring to the implementation of the new guidelines.

The new government under President Xi Jinping and Li has impressed many onlookers by quickly introducing a number of governance changes, as well as differentiating itself from predecessors in terms of working style. There are measures to reform the previously extravagant work style of senior officials, as well as deal swiftly with corruption allegations against about a dozen senior officials.

There has also been high-profile support for reform by Xi and other top leaders, as well as an obvious change in the type of language used by leaders, with rhetoric being replaced by more down-to-earth comments.

The state broadcaster said the meeting announced a "division of labour among State Council leaders" without elaborating on the portfolios of four newly elected vice-premiers and five state councillors.

The cabinet meeting was also intended to work out a plan of implementing tasks listed on the Government Work Report that was delivered to the national legislature by Li's predecessor, Wen Jiabao , on March 5.

In the speech, Li warned that transforming the functions of government was an arduous task facing the new administration, as well as the "first task for the newly elected State Council".

A State Council streamlining plan, approved by the legislature during its just-ended annual session, is meant to introduce further market reform and reduce government intervention in the marketplace, as well as to build a service-oriented government.

Li warned officials not to be insincere in their implementation of the reform by "changing the water but not the herbs".

He also called for enhanced supervision of government projects that have already been approved. Transforming government functions, he said, would serve as a "great remedy" for promoting investment and employment in the private sector.