The State Council (国务院 Pinyin: Guowu Yuan) is the chief administrative body of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and contains the heads of each governmental department and agency. There are about 50 members in the Council.
Standing Committee members of the State Council include the premier, four vice-premiers, five state councilors, and the secretary-general. The State Council meets once a month. Its standing committee meets twice a week.
The vice-premiers and state councilors are nominated by the premier, and appointed by the president with National People's Congress' (NPC) approval. The premier is nominated and appointed by the president with NPC approval. Incumbents may serve two successive five-year terms.
Each vice premier oversees certain areas of administration. The secretary-general, as head of the General Office, handles the day-to-day work of the State Council.
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.
Although formally 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, the State Council is responsive mainly to the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, under the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee. This orientation was dictated by the fact that the senior members of the State Council are concurrently influential party leaders--a tie that has facilitated the party's centralized control over the state apparatus. It also tends to obscure distinctions between the party and the government, resulting in overcentralization of power in the hands of a few, and arbitrary behavior by, key leaders. Both excesses were condemned by reform leaders, such as Zhao Ziyang.
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.
See also: Politics of China
Ministries and Commissions of the State Council:
Bureaux and Administrations under the State Council:
Bureaux Supervised by Commissions and Ministries: