Streamlining Services

Streamlining Services

| CMP Staff

Premier Li Keqiang in 2017. Image from the Presidential Press Office of the State Council, available at Wikimedia Commons under CC license.

First introduced by Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) in 2015 during a nationwide government teleconference, “streamlining services,” or fang guan fu (放管服), essentially refers to optimizing government services to cut down on red tape and documentation and thereby reduce the financial burden of compliance on enterprises.

An important concept in so-called “administrative system reforms” (行政体制改革) pushed by the Chinese leadership since the 18th National Congress of the CCP in 2012, “streamlining services” was first introduced by Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) during a nationwide State Council teleconference on simplifying government services and cutting red tape in 2015. The phrase is an abbreviation of three longer phrases, “simplifying (or streamlining) administration and delegating powers” (简政放权); “relaxing and combining management” (放管结合); and “improving services” (优化服务).

These could be further simplified as “delegating power,” “improving regulation” and “upgrading services.”

A cartoon appearing on Chinese social media illustrates “streamlining services” with a figure racing over a series of red approval chops with his document labeled “handling matters.” In his head he is thinking: “Understandable, simple and fast!”

The overarching idea is to streamline and optimize government services, in particular, to reduce the financial burden of compliance on enterprises, and to cut down on documentation and red tape. In his government work report in May 2020, Li Keqiang again emphasized “streamlining services” as a priority, promising that the promotion of related reforms would be “deepened.”

CMP Staff

The China Media Project

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