The Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5 highlights the need to acknowledge and address the inefficient implementation of certain policies. That the report faces up to difficulties and shortcomings in governance is worth applauding, said Beijing Youth Daily on March 7:
Achievements aside, this year’s Government Work Report demonstrated deeper reflection on a wide range of problems in social development and governance, as well as great political courage and governmental willingness to shoulder due responsibility.
The country recorded a GDP growth of 6.9 percent in 2015, the slowest in a quarter of a century, and both its imports and exports declined. Investment also struggled to increase, and some industries have been plagued with serious overcapacity, leading to a series of financial risks.
Yet the continuing economic downturn not only deals a blow to China’s efforts to stimulate its imports and exports, investment and consumption, but also reforms for modern governance.
Informing the public of these difficulties and latent risks, instead of fabricating good news, might be sensible, because it would allow more common citizens to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy the dividends of the deepening comprehensive reform.
Governments at all levels still have a long way to go to improve residents’ well-being, with a wide spectrum of reforms needed, from school education and medical services, to food and drug safety and urban management. The calls for better education, safer food and breathable air have grown louder in recent years, and the authorities need to double their efforts to respond to such requests without repeating the mistakes that have been made in the past.
The Government Work Report included major accidents that happened last year, such as the explosions in Tianjin in August that killed 165 people, and offered both profound reflections on what led to the disasters and the vow to address the failings of management and governance to better protect people’s lives and property.
The report also promised greater efforts to fight against official corruption and incompetence by deepening administrative reform to optimize governments’ functions and power, and holding all corrupt officials accountable for violations of the law. This is exactly what the public wants from the central government.