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Premier Li targets red tape, officials’ ills for clean governance

Updated: Apr 15,2016 7:32 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Premier Li Keqiang said more will be done to promote clean governance in 2016, including cutting red tape, punishing officials’ misconduct and implementation of major projects.

Premier Li made the remarks at the State Council’s fourth meeting on clean governance last month. His speech at the meeting was made public on April 14.

The Premier praised last year’s efforts to set restrictions to power use so as to reduce the scope for officials bargaining for benefits, noting that 311 administrative approval items were slashed and 44 percent of professional certificates were reduced.

Premier Li also noted progress in budget and expenditure transparency, including spending in government procurement and public receptions, adding that governments at all levels saved more than 380 billion yuan ($58.6 billion) in this way last year.

However, he noted that anti-graft mechanisms remain weak in some agencies, state-owned enterprises, public institutions and financial institutions and cases of nonfeasance and misconduct still exist among a small group of officials.

Calling for full preparations in “fighting a difficult war against corruption” in 2016, Premier Li stressed that Party rules and disciplines must be upheld strictly and corrupt officials in key fields must be firmly punished.

Premier Li promised that the government will slash more administrative items this year to boost market vitality and reduce corruption, with focus on stabilizing growth, restructuring and improving people’s livelihoods.

“To accurately and fully exercise governmental duty requires limiting power and exercising power well as well as ... boosting government’s action capacity and credibility,” he said.

“Some entrepreneurs of privately-owned or foreign businesses told me during my local inspections that some local government officials didn’t do things according to contracts and made changes at will, which harmed their passion for investment,” the Premier told the meeting.

The Premier urged governments at all levels to abide by laws and regulations and fulfil their promises, calling for a system to pursue the liabilities of officials who renege.

Premier Li also stressed harsher crackdowns on the infringement of intellectual property rights, production of fake or shoddy goods, business fraud, tax evasion and other malpractices.

He ordered intensified efforts in the implementation of major investment projects and those directly affecting people’s livelihoods, with strict supervision and detailed responsibility spelled out for every party involved.