A Guide to 2018 State Council Institutional Reforms (FURTHER UPDATED)

NOTE to readers (July 20, 2018): An organizational chart of the reorganized State Council can be found here.

NOTE to readers (Mar. 21, 2018): The Communist Party on March 21 released the Plan to Deepen Reform of Party and State Institutions, the section of which concerning the State Council is summarized in this post. While some other parts of the plan also made changes to the State Council’s organizational structure, these changes are NOT reflected in the summary.

UPDATE (Mar. 17, 2018): The NPC has approved the State Council Institutional Reform Plan of 2018. We have accordingly updated our summary.


Details of the eighth round of State Council reorganization in the “Reform and Opening up” era were revealed to the delegates attending the ongoing 1st Session of the 13th NPC on Tuesday. Previous rounds took place in 1982, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013. In this post, we present our own summary of the 2018 State Council Institutional Reform Plan (国务院机构改革方案), along with information that we think would help our readers better understand the Plan. The NPC is scheduled to approve the Plan on Saturday (March 17).

Types of State Council Bodies

There are seven types of organizations under the State Council:

  1. Departments constituting the State Council (国务院组成部门): These are the cabinet-level ministries (部), commissions (委员会), the People’s Bank of China, and the National Audit Office. For purposes of this post, we include the State Council’s General Office in this category even though it is usually treated separately in practice. Reorganization of these bodies requires the NPC’s approval.
  2. Organizations directly under the State Council (国务院直属机构): These organizations can independently perform administrative functions and do not have any parent organization.
  3. Special organization directly under the State Council (国务院直属特设机构): Currently there is only one such organization, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (国有资产监督管理委员会).
  4. Administrative offices under the State Council (国务院办事机构): These offices assist the Premier with specific matters and have no independent administrative functions.
  5. Public institutions directly under the State Council (国务院直属事业单位): These institutions are not administrative bodies per se, but some perform administrative functions as authorized by the State Council (the China Securities Regulatory Commission, for example).
  6. Administrations and bureaus under the departments constituting the State Council (国务院组成部门管理的国家行政机构): They perform administrative functions and each report to (but are technically separate from) one of the departments constituting the State Council.
  7. Deliberation and coordination agencies under the State Council (国务院议事协调机构): As their name implies, these agencies each coordinate different administrative bodies under the State Council on a particular subject. Given the multitude of these agencies, we only list ones that are relevant to the Plan in the document below.

Changes to bodies in categories #2–7 do not require the NPC’s approval, though customarily they are also reported to the NPC.

Summary of the Plan

For existing State Council bodies, we used the official translations of their names in our summary. For new bodies created by the Plan, we mostly followed the translations published by Xinhua. We only included the Chinese names of new bodies. To limit the length of the document and for formatting purposes, the use of acronyms is inevitable even though we have tried to minimize their use. If you see an acronym you do not recognize, please perform a search within the document. We sincerely welcome any and all suggestions and comments on how to improve this summary. Download the newest (March 17) PDF document in U.S.-letter size or A4 size.

Some State Council bodies (such as the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of the State Council 国务院台湾事务办公室) are not listed in the document because they are Communist Party organizations under a different name (the TAO is the same entity as the Party Central Committee’s Taiwan Work Office 中共中央台湾工作办公室).

2018 State Council Reorg Plan_US Letter Vert v2 p12018 State Council Reorg Plan_US Letter Vert v2 p22018 State Council Reorg Plan_US Letter Vert p32018 State Council Reorg Plan_US Letter Vert p42018 State Council Reorg Plan_US Letter Vert v2 p52018 State Council Reorg Plan_US Letter Vert v2 p6


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19 thoughts on “A Guide to 2018 State Council Institutional Reforms (FURTHER UPDATED)

  1. Also, why is “MOFCOM” put in quotes? MOFCOM is the official abbreviation, after all. Whether “SNWD Office” needs the quotes might be debatable.

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  2. Why is the China Cyberspace Administration not part of this list? AFAIK, even though the CAC was initially a duplicate of SCIO, it officially became its own thing in 2014 through《国务院关于授权国家互联网信息办公室负责互联网信息内容管理工作的通知》.

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    1. I think CAC is not listed here because it’s officially considered part of the Party’s organizational structure—that is, it is the same thing as the Executive Office of the Central Leading Group on Cybersecurity and Informatization (中央网络安全和信息化领导小组办公室). Also, I think that CAC is still a duplicate of SCIO, which (according to Wikipedia and Baidu Baike) is simultaneously also known as the Party’s External Propaganda Office (中共中央对外宣传办公室). Also see this chart: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:%E5%9B%BD%E5%8A%A1%E9%99%A2.

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  3. I’m fairly sure the CAC is no longer a duplicate of the SCIO. First of all, they have different bosses, at everyone knows. The CAC also has an independent org chart (non-public, but parts of it are known, and there are credible unofficial versions circulating online), and its staff must have long exceeded the SCIO staff in size. Different offices of the CAC are located in different places in Beijing (until they all move into the giant new HQ one day), and their signs at the gate often don’t mention anything about the SCIO.

    The state CAC is a couple of years older than the party CAC. Upon establishing the party CAC, it was stipulated that its work be performed by the state CAC. In other words, the party CAC is a virtual instance, while the state CAC performs the actual work, and not the other way around:
    https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E5%8A%A1%E9%99%A2%E6%96%B0%E9%97%BB%E5%8A%9E%E5%85%AC%E5%AE%A4#%E5%9B%BD%E5%AE%B6%E4%BA%92%E8%81%94%E7%BD%91%E4%BF%A1%E6%81%AF%E5%8A%9E%E5%85%AC%E5%AE%A4

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    1. OK, the official website of the State Council says the CAC is listed with the CPCCC:
      http://www.gov.cn/guowuyuan/zuzhi.htm

      (国家互联网信息办公室与中央网络安全和信息化领导小组办公室,国务院台湾事务办公室与中共中央台湾工作办公室,国务院防范和处理邪教问题办公室与中央防范和处理邪教问题领导小组办公室,一个机构两块牌子,列入中共中央办事机构序列。国务院新闻办在中央宣传部加挂牌子。)

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      1. It would be nice if this information – the official explanation by the SC itself on why CAC, TAO, etc. aren’t listed here – could be added to this list as a clarifying note.

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    1. I most likely won’t update this post, but will separately publish a State Council organizational chart after all new agencies’ English names are released. Thanks for pointing out MEE’s new name—that was actually my original translation.

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