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China issues plan to streamline government

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm •  Published: March 9, 2013

Another influential bureaucracy, the family planning commission, which oversees enforcement of the much disliked policies that limit most families to one child, will be merged with the Health Ministry in a sign the government may be rethinking its approach to family planning. The proposal called for "maintaining and perfecting family planning policies" and said the party would continue to set policy. Meanwhile, population research is being transferred to the economic planning agency, highlighting government concern about the effect an aging population and shrinking labor force may have on the economy.

In another bureaucratic boost, the government will pull together separate agencies involved in fisheries and other maritime law enforcement into one administration. The move appears aimed at better asserting China's claims in disputed stretches of the East and South China seas and, if energetically pressed, could aggravate already high tensions with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The National Energy Administration, created five years ago to help oversee a pressing need for the fast-growing but resource-strapped economy, would be expanded to absorb a regulatory body that sets electric rates.

The food and drug administration is being elevated in status to ministry level to give it added powers in hopes of improving enforcement and ending the lax enforcement that has led to repeated scandals over toxic medicines and tainted foods from milk to meat.

In a separate report to the legislature, the head of the supreme court, Wang Shengjun, said Chinese courts had sentenced more than 20,000 people for making and selling adulterated milk powder, recycled cooking oil known as "gutter oil" and the steroid clenbuterol, which makes pigs produce leaner meat.