China’s cabinet restructuring plan brings naming headache

By Chen Siwu

Despite the broad support for its plan to restructure its cabinet arms, the Chinese government has found itself in immediate trouble: what to name its reorganized media administration.

“It’s just too lengthy,” complained Wu Shulin, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), about the proposed 14-Chinese-character name for the new media regulatory authority.

The State Council, or China’s cabinet, announced a plan on March 10 to merge the country’s press and broadcasting regulators to oversee the press, publication, radio, film and television sectors as part of the country’s efforts to cut red tape and reduce administrative intervention in the market and on social issues.

According to the plan, the GAPP and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) will be integrated into the proposed ministerial-level State General Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television.

“The proposed name needs to be revised,” said Wu, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body.

On China’s most popular Twitter-like website weibo.com, netizens expressed their opposition to the proposed new name in an outpouring of some 320,000 posts.

“Why not call it ‘the State Media Regulatory Authority’?” read one post.

“To call it ‘the General Administration of Media’ is better,” wrote another.

Zhang Pimin, SARFT deputy director, agreed the proposed name is not a good one.

“We need a global vision to name the new administration scientifically, intelligently and concisely,” said Zhang, who is also a national political advisor.

Zhang said streamlining government is an irresistible trend as the overlapping of functions and overstaffing have caused low efficiency and buck-passing among different departments.

The seventh of its kind in the past three decades, the State Council’s restructuring package also includes the dismantling of the Ministry of Railways, the integration of the Health Ministry and the National Population and Family Planning Commission, and the reorganization of the existing State Food and Drug Administration, the State Oceanic Administration and the National Energy Administration.

If the restructuring package is approved by the top legislature, the State Council will cut its ministerial departments to 25 from 27.

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