State Council of the People's Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Guówùyuàn
|Formed||27 September 1954|
|Type||Executive branch of the central government|
Executive body of the National People's Congress
Highest organ of State administration
|Jurisdiction||Government of the People's Republic of China|
|Headquarters||State Council Hall, Zhongnanhai, Beijing|
(Serve the People)
|Annual budget||CN¥37.2 trillion (2019)|
|State Council of the People's Republic of China|
|Literal meaning||"Chinese People('s) Republic State Affair(s) Court"|
(commonly used abbreviation)
|Literal meaning||"The Court of State Affairs"|
|Central People's Government|
|Literal meaning||Central People('s) Government|
The State Council, constitutionally synonymous with the Central People's Government since 1954 (particularly in relation to local governments), is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the premier and includes the heads of each of the cabinet-level executive departments. Currently, the council has 35 members: the premier, one executive vice premier, three other vice premiers, five state councillors (of whom three are also ministers and one is also the secretary-general), and 26 in charge of the Council's constituent departments. In the politics of China, the Central People's Government forms one of three interlocking branches of power, the others being the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The State Council directly oversees the various subordinate People's Governments in the provinces, and in practice maintains membership with the top levels of the CCP. All members of the State Council are also members of the Communist Party's Central Committee.
The State Council meets every six months. Between meetings it is guided by a Standing Committee of the State Council of the People's Republic of China (Executive Meeting) that meets weekly. The standing committee includes the premier, one executive vice premier, three vice premiers, and five other state councillors (normally one of whom serves as Secretary-General of the State Council, and two of whom concurrently serve as ministers).
The vice-premiers and state councillors are nominated by the premier, and appointed by the president with National People's Congress' (NPC) approval. Incumbents may serve two successive five-year terms.
Each vice premier oversees certain areas of administration. Each State Councillor performs duties as designated by the Premier. The secretary-general heads the General Office which handles the day-to-day work of the State Council. The secretary-general has relatively little power and should not be confused with the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
Each ministry supervises one sector. Commissions outrank ministries and set policies for and coordinate the related activities of different administrative organs. Offices deal with matters of ongoing concern. Bureaus and administrations rank below ministries.
In addition to the 25 ministries, there are 38 centrally administered government organizations that report directly to the state council. The heads of these organizations attend full meetings of the state committee on an irregular basis.
In practice, the vice premiers and State Councillors assume responsibility for one or more sectors or issues, and remain in contact with the various bodies responsible for policy related to that area. This allows the Standing Committee to oversee a wide range of government functions.
The State Council, like all other governmental bodies, is nominally responsible to the NPC and its Standing Committee in conducting a wide range of government functions both at the national and at the local levels, and nominally acts by virtue of the NPC's authority. In practice, however, the NPC had historically done little more than ratify decisions already made by the State Council. More recently, however, the NPC has taken on a more independent role. There has been at least one case where the NPC has outright rejected an initiative of the State Council and a few cases where the State Council has withdrawn or greatly modified a proposal in response to NPC opposition.
The State Council and the CCP are also tightly interlocked. With rare exceptions, State Councillors are high-ranking members of the CCP. Although, as Party members, they are supposed to follow Party instructions, because they tend to be senior members of the Party they also have substantial influence over what those instructions are. This results in a system which is unlike the Soviet practice in which the Party effectively controlled the State. Rather, the Party and State are fused at this level of government. The members of the State Council derive their authority from being members of the state, while as members of the Party they coordinate their activities and determine key decisions such as the naming of personnel.
There were attempts to separate the party and state in the late 1980s under Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang and have the Party in charge of formulating policy and the State Council executing policy, but these efforts were largely abandoned in the early 1990s.
As the chief administrative organ of government, its main functions are to formulate administrative measures, issue decisions and orders, and monitor their implementation; draft legislative bills for submission to the NPC or its Standing Committee; and prepare the economic plan and the state budget for deliberation and approval by the NPC. The State Council is the functional center of state power and clearinghouse for government initiatives at all levels. With the government's emphasis on economic modernization, the State Council clearly acquired additional importance and influence.
Executive Meeting (Standing Committee)
The Plenary Meeting of State Council is hosted by the Premier, joined by Vice Premiers, State Councillors, Ministers in charge of Ministries and Commissions, the Governor of the People's Bank, the Auditor-General, and the Secretary General. It usually runs bi-annually and when necessary, non-members can be invited to participate.
General Office of the State Council
Constituent Departments of the State Council (cabinet-level)
Special Organization directly under the State Council
- State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) (国务院国有资产监督管理委员会), established in 2003
Organizations directly under the State Council
Administrative Offices of the State Council
Institutions directly under the State Council
National Administrations administrated by ministry-level agencies
Interdepartmental coordinating agencies
- National Defense Mobilization Commission (NDMC; 国家国防动员委员会), established in 1994
- National Energy Commission (NEC; 国家能源委员会), established in 2010
- Financial Stability and Development Committee (FSDC; 国务院金融稳定发展委员会), established in 2017
and many more...
Agencies dispatched by the State Council
- Department of State Affairs in the Three Departments and Six Ministries system
- Ming dynasty: Central Secretariat → Grand Secretariat
- Qing dynasty: Grand Secretariat → Grand Council → Cabinet
- Republic of China: State Council (1912–28) → Executive Yuan (1928–present)
- People's Republic of China: Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government (1949–54); Ministries of the PRC
- "Unraveling the Mysteries of China's Multiple Budgets". Bloomberg.com. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- Article 85 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China
- "The State Council". English.peopledaily.com.cn. Archived from the original on 2014-11-22. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
- "The State Council". Gov.cn. Archived from the original on 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2011-12-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)