The Legal Position, Functions and Rights of the State Council
The State Council is the highest state organ of administration. The Constitution prescribes the following functions and rights for the State Council:
- 1. To adopt administrative measures, enact administrative rules and regulations and issue decisions and orders in accordance with the Constitution and law;
- 3. To stipulate the tasks and responsibilities of various ministries and commissions, exercise unified leadership over the work of the ministries and commissions and direct all other administrative work of a national character that does not fall within the jurisdiction of any specific ministries or commissions;
- 4. To exercise unified leadership over the work of local organs of state administration at various levels throughout the country, and to formulate the detailed division of functions and powers between the Central Government and the organs of state administration of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;
- 5. To draw up and implement the plan for national economic and social development and the state budget;
- 6. To direct and administer economic affairs and urban and rural development;
- 7. To direct and administer the affairs of education, science, culture, public health, physical culture and family planning;
- 8. To direct and administer civil affairs, public security, judicial administration, supervision and other related matters;
- 9. To conduct foreign affairs and conclude treaties and agreements with foreign states;
- 10. To direct and administer the building of national defense;
- 11. To direct and administer affairs concerning ethnic groups and to safeguard the equal rights of the minorities and the right to autonomy of ethnic autonomous areas;
- 12. To protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals residing abroad and protecting the rights and interests of returned overseas Chinese and of the family members of Chinese nationals abroad;
- 13. To alter or annul inappropriate orders, directives and regulations issued by the ministries or commissions;
- 14. To alter or annul inappropriate decisions and orders issued by local organs of state administration at various levels;
- 15. To approve the geographic division of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and to approve the establishment and geographic division of autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties and cities;
- 16. To decide on the imposition of martial law in parts of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;
- 17. To examine and decide on the size of administrative organs and, in accordance with the law, appoint or remove administrative officials, train them, appraise their performance and reward or punish them; and
- 18. To exercise such other functions and powers as the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee may assign to it.
The Organizational Structure of the State Council
In 1998, the State Council underwent a major reform of its structure. Now it is composed of the General Affairs Office, 28 ministries and commissions (including the People' Bank of China and the National Auditing Office), 17 directly affiliated organs and 7 working offices, in addition to a number of directly administered institutions.
The General Affairs Office
It is an organ assisting leaders of the State Council in dealing with their routine work. It is responsible for preparing meetings of the State Council, assisting leaders of the State Council to organize meetings to make decisions and implement them, drafting or reviewing documents issued in the name of the State Council or the General Affairs Office of the State Council, studying inquiries from various ministries and commissions of the State Council and from local governments of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and then offering its suggestions of answers for the approval by leaders of the State Council, supervising, urging, reviewing and following up the implementation of documents, decisions and directives of the State Council or its leaders by various departments of the State Council and local people's governments, timely reporting to leaders of the State Council important suggestions and problems raised in letters from the public and during their visits and conducting special investigations in responding to these suggestions and problems.
The General Affairs Office of the State Council is divided into four bureaus and two departments, namely, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bureaus of secretaries, bureau of letters and visits, departments of personnel and of administration.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of National Defense
- National Development and Reform Commission
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Science and Technology
- Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense
- The commission is a comprehensive administrative office of the state for national defense science, technology and industries.
- State Commission of Ethnic Affairs
- Ministry of Public Security
- Ministry of State Security
- Ministry of Supervision
- Ministry of Civil Affairs
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Personnel
- Ministry of Labor and Social Security
- Ministry of Land and Resources
- Ministry of Construction
- Ministry of Railways
- Ministry of Environmental Protection
- Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of Industry Information Technology
- Ministry of Water Resources
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Ministry of Commerce
- Ministry of Culture
- Ministry of Health
Organizations directly under the State Council:
- General Administration of Customs
- State Administration of Taxation
- General Administration of Civil Aviation of China
- State Administration of Radio, Film and Television
- State General Administration of Sports
- National Bureau of Statistics
- State Administration of Industry and Commerce
- General Administration of Press and Publication
- State Forestry Administration
- State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision and Quarantine
- State Food and Drug Supervision Administration
- State Intellectual Property Office
- National Tourism Administration
- State Administration of Religious Affairs
- Counselors' Office of the State Council
- Government Offices Administration of the State Council
Administrative Offices under the State Council
1. Foreign Affairs Office of the State Council
It undertakes the routine work of the Central Leading Group for Foreign Affairs Work and holds the function of administering foreign affairs at a certain designated level and within a certain designated scope.
2. Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council
It assists the premier of the State Council in conducting his work related to overseas Chinese affairs. The office is in charge of formulating policies, guidelines and regulations on the work of overseas Chinese affairs, supervise and check their implementation.
The office consists of six departments: the secretary and administrative affairs department, overseas Chinese policy department, overseas department, economy, science and technology department, culture, education and publicity department, and personnel department.
3. Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council
Its responsibilities are to, in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems" and related policies and guidelines of the central authorities, study the political, economic, financial, cultural and other social developments in Hong Kong and Macao and put forward suggestions for the central authorities to adopt policies, guidelines and strategies; take overall responsibility for and coordinate the work and business exchanges between various central government offices and provincial governments with the governments in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
The office has five departments: the secretary and administrative affairs department, Hong Kong economy department, Hong Kong political affairs department, Hong Kong society and culture department and Macao affairs department.
4. Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council
The office assists the premier in conducting his work in the legal field. Its responsibilities are to make overall plans and execute unified plans on the legislative work of the State Council, formulate the State Council's annual arrangement for legislation and oversee their implementation upon approval by the State Council.
It consists of eight departments: the secretary and administrative affairs department, department of legal system in labor and social security affairs, department of legal system in education, science, culture and health affairs, department of legal system in finance and monetary affairs, department of legal system in industry, transport and commercial affairs, department of legal system in agricultural resources and environmental protection, government legal system coordination department, law and regulation translation and foreign affairs department..
5. Research Office of the State Council
It shoulders the tasks of comprehensive study of policies and consulting on policy decisions.
It consists of six departments: the secretary department, comprehensive research department, macro-economic research department, industry, transport and trade research department, rural economy research department, and social development research department.
6. Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council
An administrative as well an institutional office of the State Council, it carries the names of both Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It is thus also listed in offices directly under the Central Committee of the CPC.
Its main responsibilities are, following policies and guidelines of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, to manage, guide and coordinate the work related to Taiwan of various offices of the State Council, and governments of the provinces in such areas as economy, science, education and culture; supervise and check on the implementation by various offices and localities of the policies and guidelines of the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council, and organize the formulation of related policies and principles for affairs involving Taiwan.
7. Information Office of the State Council
Its job is to promote Chinese media to publicize China to the world, including introducing China's policies, stands, economic development, history and culture. It runs press conferences and provides books and other publications, TV and film products in fulfilling its mission of publicizing China to the outside world. It assists foreign journalists to cover China so as to ensure effective, objective and accurate reporting on China. It conducts, on an extensive basis, exchanges and cooperation with foreign government agencies and the mass media. In conjunction with other departments and offices, it promotes external cultural exchanges.
Institutions Directly under the State Council
- 1. Xinhua News Agency
- 2. Chinese Academy of Sciences
- 3. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
- 4. Chinese Academy of Engineering
- 5. Development Research Center of the State Council
- 6. National School of Administration
- 7. China Seismological Bureau
- 8. China Meteorological Administration
- 9. China Securities Regulatory Commission
- 10. China Insurance Regulatory Commission
- 11. State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission
- 12. China Banking Regulatory Commission
- 13. National Social Securities Fund Council
- 14. National Natural Science Foundation of China