The government is to introduce a procedure for recruiting staff for administrative units under the State Council, Personnel Minister Zhang Xuezhong said yesterday.
Mr Zhang's remarks came as the central government began to wrap up a four-year exercise to streamline the government's bureaucracy.
According to Mr Zhang, administrative units - with a few exceptions - will soon be required to implement new recruitment procedures emphasising open competition and job performance appraisal.
Administrative units are not government ministries. They include organs such as Xinhua, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the State Administrative College.
Xinhua said some administrative units would not be required to carry out the reforms. However, these are mainly units which have been chosen to implement a civil service-type system currently used by the government or those which have been shortlisted for corporatisation.
Mr Zhang indicated the reforms would not be implemented indiscriminately across the country.
He said areas which have the necessary resources would introduce the reforms faster. However, areas which were not as prepared could try some 'test cases' before launching the full reform package.
'By following the principle of unified planning and gradual implementation, [we are aiming at] launching the [new] recruitment system in our administrative units in two to three years,' Mr Zhang said.
'[And we will strive for] establishing a normal and structured system in all our administrative units within five years.'
There are more than 1.3 million administrative units which together employ more than 28 million people, according to official statistics.
Analysts have pointed out that many of the officials made redundant in the down-sizing campaign for central and regional governments in the past four years have been absorbed into these administrative units and are still on the government's payroll.
A separate report in the latest issue of the official Outlook magazine said Beijing would also kick-start reforms to reduce the number of law-enforcement units and their employees over the next six months.
Guangdong province and Chongqing have been selected as pilot areas to carry out the reforms.
The report said Beijing would also broaden the scope of its administrative reforms, currently being tested in Shenzhen.
More cities will ultimately take part in reform testing. These changes are aimed at boosting government transparency, reducing ad-hoc fees meted out by various government departments and providing a more open system for parties seeking the government's approval.