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PRC State Council, China’s Human Resources, September 2010

In September 2010, the Information Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet, published a white paper on China's human resources
September 1, 2010
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China's Human Resources
Information Office of the State Council
The People's Republic of China
September, 2010 Beijing

Foreword

China is a developing country with the largest population in the world. Its 1.3 billion people are a vast reservoir of human resources. Actively developing human resources, bringing into full play the potential ability and value of each individual and promoting the people's all-round development so as to provide powerful labor and intellectual support for China's modernization drive and to realize its transformation from a country rich in human resources to one with powerful human resources, is a significant aim the Chinese government has been cherishing and a major undertaking it has been unremittingly advancing.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, and especially since the reform and opening-up policies were introduced in the late 1970s, the Chinese government, upholding the idea of putting people first, has actively implemented the principle of respecting labor, knowledge, talent and creativity, and has adopted a series of policies and measures to boost employment and develop education, science and technology, culture, public health and social security, striving to create a favorable environment and conditions for the people's all-round development. Currently, China's employment situation is stable on the whole; the people's education and health levels have been remarkably improved; and a galaxy of talented people in various fields urgently needed by national construction has appeared. They are playing an important role in promoting the development of all economic and social undertakings.

In accordance with the requirements of the socialist market economy system, and to promote sustainable development and social harmony, the Chinese government pays attention to the fundamental function of the market in deploying human resources, while vigorously promoting institutional reforms in the fields of economy, science, technology and education, constantly deepening the reform of the cadre related system, and pursuing the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education and that of strengthening the nation with trained personnel, and a proactive employment policy. It has also established and improved the human resources development mechanism to train, attract, use and support talented people, and accelerated human resources legal construction, thereby opening up a human resources development path conforming to China' s national conditions.

I. The Basic Situation of China's Human Resources

A large population and rich human resources constitute the basic national situation of China. For years, the Chinese government has pursued proactive and effective policies and measures to enhance the development and utilization of human resources, bringing about remarkable changes in this field.

Human resources growing in scale. By the end of 2009 China's total population had reached 1.33474 billion (excluding that of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and Taiwan Province), which contains a labor force of 1.06969 billion persons, 112.67 million more than in 2000; the number of employees had reached 779.95 million, of whom 311.2 million were urban employees, increases of 59.1 million and 79.69 million, respectively, compared with the year 2000.

Remarkable improvement of education. China gives priority to education in its development strategy, and has established a comparatively complete national modern educational system. In 2000 Nine-Year Compulsory Education was made universal throughout the country, and illiteracy among people between the ages of 20 and 50 was basically eliminated. The number of teenagers attending senior middle school has increased greatly; vocational education has been especially enhanced; and higher education is becoming more popular. In 2009 the total number of senior middle school students in China amounted to 24.3428 million; students at various secondary vocational schools numbered 21.9516 million; undergraduates studying at all sorts of universities and colleges numbered 21.4466 million and postgraduate students 1.4049 million. The development of national education has remarkably raised employees' educational level. By the end of 2009, the average schooling of people above 15 years old had reached nearly 8.9 years, while that of the majority of the working population was 9.5 years, of which 9.9 percent had received higher education. The average education time of newly increased labor force amounted to 12.4 years.

Optimized employment structure. With China's economic development and industrial structure adjustment, the proportion of those employed in primary industry has dropped significantly while that in tertiary industry has risen greatly. In 2009 the proportion of employment in primary, secondary and tertiary industries changed to 38.1 percent, 27.8 percent, and 34.1 percent from 50 percent, 22.5 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively in 2000.

Good progress in talent development. People having professional knowledge or special skills who contribute to society through creative work are highly regarded in China. They are a high-ability and high-quality labor force among human resources. The Chinese government has drawn up and implemented a series of major principles and policies to advance the building of contingents of people of all kinds for the Party and government, enterprise operation and management, professional techniques, high technology, rural affairs and social work in an all-round way. Through years of efforts, the number of talented people has maintained a stable increase, with improved quality, optimized structure and gradually rising utilization efficiency. By the end of 2008 the total number of such people in China had reached 114 million.Gradual improvement of income, health care and social security as guarantees for human resources development. With the country's sustained and rapid socioeconomic development, the income of urban and rural residents has maintained a stable growth. The average disposable income of urban residents increased from less than RMB 100 yuan in 1949 to 15,781 yuan in 2008; and the average net income of rural residents increased from RMB 44 yuan in 1949 to 4,761 yuan in 2008. Great efforts have been mobilized to build up the public health system so as to provide guarantee for improving the health of people nationwide. By the end of 2009 there were 289,000 medical institutions nationwide, 5.22 million medical workers and 3.96 million hospital beds in total. In recent years, the Chinese government has vigorously accelerated the building of the social security system to cover rural and urban residents and to provide basic life assurance for each individual. In 2009, urban basic retirement insurance covered 235.5 million people; the total number of urban employees covered by basic medical insurance, urban residents covered by basic medical insurance and people in the countryside covered by the new rural cooperative medical insurance reached 1.2 billion; unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance covered 127.15 million, 148.96 million and 108.76 million people, respectively. China implements a subsistence allowance system. By the end of 2009, 23.477 million urban residents and 47.593 million rural residents had enjoyed subsistence allowances from the government. China has implemented planned and organized large-scale poverty relief programs throughout the country. In 2009, the rural population living in poverty was reduced to 35.97 million, with the nationwide poverty rate dropping to 3.6 percent.

II. Legal System for Human Resources Development

Adhering to the strategy based on the rule of law, China actively promotes democratic and scientific legislation to provide legal security for the fair and equal rights of individual development for everyone, and the scientific development of human resources. Through years of development, China has established a human resources development legal system with the Constitution as the essential basis, the Labor Law and the Civil Servant Law as the foundation, the Labor Contract Law, the Employment Promotion Law, and the Law on Mediation and Arbitration of Labor Disputes as the main contents, and other separate laws and administrative regulations as major components.

Legal system for promoting employment

To achieve the goal of expanding and stabilizing employment, China promulgated the Labor Law of the People' s Republic of China in 1994, which expressly states that the state strives to create job opportunities and expand employment through promoting economic and social development. The Employment Promotion Law of the People' s Republic of China adopted in 2007 has laid down the principle of "independent job-seeking by workers, employment based on market forces and the promotion of employment by the government," requiring the building of a government responsibility system for promoting employment, the implementing of industry, investment, finance and taxation policies favorable for boosting employment, making an overall plan for balanced employment between urban and rural areas, in various regions and among different social groups. According to this Employment Promotion Law the state will establish an unemployment precaution system, improve the public employment service, vocational training and employment aid systems. The enforcement of these laws has greatly facilitated the interaction between economic development and employment promotion.

The state ensures that workers in China enjoy the rights of equal employment and independent job-seeking in accordance with the law. Since 1988 China has promulgated the Law of the People' s Republic of China for the Protection of Disabled Persons, Law of the People' s Republic of China for the Protection of Women' s Rights and Interests, Law of the People' s Republic of China for the Protection of Minors, Regulations Concerning the Labor Protection of Female Staff and Workers, Provisions Concerning the Prohibition of the Use of Child Labor, Regulations on the Employment of the Disabled, and other laws and administrative regulations. The Employment Promotion Law has a special chapter on equal employment, which stipulates that no employees shall be discriminated against on the grounds of ethnicity, race, gender and religion, and specially provides that rural employees working in cities should enjoy the same labor rights as urban employees.

The state also promotes vocational education and training through legislation. Since 1995 China has promulgated the Education Law of the People' s Republic of China, Vocational Education Law of the People' s Republic of China, Law of the People' s Republic of China on Promotion of Privately-run Schools and similar laws, and has established a vocational education and training mechanism on the principle of "the market guiding training, and training promoting employment." Based on vocational education institutions and training organizations at various levels, China has improved multi-form and multi-level vocational education, and formed a vocational education and training system connecting education at various levels, and linking vocational education with general education.

Proactive efforts have been made by the state to standardize the management of professional and technical staff. Since 1993 China has promulgated the Teachers Law of the People' s Republic of China, Law of the People' s Republic of China on Medical Practitioners, Law of the People' s Republic of China on Lawyers, Law of the People' s Republic of China on Certified Public Accountants, Regulations of the People' s Republic of China on Certified Public Architects, and other related laws and regulations. These laws and regulations stipulate the qualifications and certificate standards of professional and technical staff, and their right to receive continuing education as well as their professional ethics, thereby standardizing the employment requirements for professional and technical staff and improving the quality of professional services.

Legal system for public human resources management

In 1993 China promulgated the Interim Regulations on Civil Servants, which launched the civil service system. The Civil Servants Law of the People' s Republic of China went into effect in 2006, since when a series of related regulations have been issued concerning the employment and training, assessment and award, appointment and removal, promotion, demotion and transfer, punishment and appeal, resignation and dismissal of civil servants, penalties for violating civil service entrance examination rules, and appointment and ranking of new recruits. Over 1,000 regulations have been issued, covering the major components of public human resources management, including the wages and welfare of employees in government departments and public institutions, human resources management in public institutions, personnel mobility management and macro-control of human resources.

Legal system for human resources rights protection

In the mid-1980s China started the trial implementation of the labor contract system, which was officially established through the promulgation of the Labor Law of the People' s Republic of China in the 1990s. The Labor Contract Law of the People' s Republic of China, promulgated in 2007, and the later Regulations on the Implementation of the Labor Contract Law of the People' s Republic of China, have further improved the labor contract system, specified the rights and obligations of employers and employees, the rules for signing, implementing, revising, canceling or terminating labor contracts and corresponding liabilities, and, taking into account the trend toward diversified forms of employment, made provisions about how to regulate labor dispatch services and parttime employment, and other aspects.

Collective consultation, together with a collective contract system, is being actively implemented in China. The Labor Law of the People's Republic of China and the Labor Contract Law of the People's Republic of China both prescribe a collective contract system, encouraging enterprises to adopt collective consultation and to sign collective contracts. The framework of the collective contract system with collective enterprise consultation as the main body, and with regional and trade collective consultation as the supplement, has been gradually formed. In recent years, the coverage of the collective contract system has been continuously enlarged with increasing effectiveness. A collective labor relations coordination system characterized by equal consultation between trade union or employee representatives and enterprise or enterprise organization representatives has been basically established.

For the fair and timely settlement of labor disputes, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Mediation and Arbitration of Labor Disputes was adopted in 2007, stipulating the scope, procedures, organizations, personnel and mechanism for labor dispute mediation and arbitration. In addition, a tripartite labor relations coordination mechanism has been established, comprising government departments, trade unions and enterprises, so as to better mediate and arbitrate labor disputes and give better legal redress for the timely and appropriate settlement of labor disputes and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the relevant parties. The Regulations on Labor Security Supervision have been issued and put into effect, specifying the functions, implementation and legal liabilities of labor security supervision, thereby providing significant legal support for safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of employees.

III. The Government Shoulders Human Resources Public Management and Public Service Responsibility

In recent years the Chinese government has played an active role in public management of and public service for human resources, accelerated the transformation of its functions, and improved the government accountability system, to create a favorable policy and social environment for workers to work with dignity and for talented people to excel others.

Implementing an active employment policy

Long facing the difficulty that supply of labor outstrips demand, China always has the arduous task to secure stable employment and create more jobs. The Chinese government always makes employment promotion the top priority for economic and social development. To fully develop and make effective use of human resources, it implements a strategy that promotes job creation and a policy that actively increases employment, and strives to help urban and rural workers enhance their overall qualities, gradually expanding employment. The government is shouldering more responsibilities in promoting employment, and government investment has been increased to provide equal employment opportunities for all. By intensifying its efforts in offering employment assistance such as occupational skill training courses, the government helps zero-employment families and people who have difficulty finding employment land jobs. A unified labor market has been set up to provide equal opportunities and services for both urban and rural workers. Relying on policy support and market orientation, the government has solved the reemployment problem for over 30 million workers laid off by state-owned enterprises, and incorporated subsistence allowances of laid-off workers into their unemployment insurance. From 2005 to 2009, over 50 million new jobs were provided in urban areas, and nearly 45 million surplus rural workers were transferred to non-agricultural sectors. At the end of 2009 the number of registered unemployed persons in urban areas was 9.21 million, with an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.

After the 2008 financial crisis swept the world, the Chinese government adopted a more active employment policy to meet the challenge. For enterprises in difficulties, it postponed their payment of social insurance premiums or lowered the rate of some social insurance premiums; and it adopted relevant tax reduction or exemption policies, encouraging enterprises to maintain or increase their levels of employment. Moreover, the government carried out a special vocational training program, and launched a series of employment service activities, striving to create more jobs through multiple channels. Focusing on college graduates, it encouraged them to find jobs at the primary level, in medium-sized and small, and non-public enterprises. In 2009 a total of 11 million urban jobs were created; the employment rate of college graduates reached 87.4 percent; over five million laid-off workers found new jobs; and over 1.5 million people with difficulty finding jobs got reemployed.

Implementing the strategy of rejuvenating China through human resources development

Human resources are the primary factor in economic and social development, and are playing an increasingly important role in China's modernization. China has always paid great attention to human resources development. In the new century, China has made a major decision to rejuvenate the nation through human resources development, aiming to train thousands of millions of high-quality workers, hundreds of millions of professionals and a large group of top-notch innovative personnel, and set up a large-scale and rationally structured contingent of high-caliber personnel. In 2001 the Chinese government incorporated this strategy into the Five Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. Since 2006 it has intensified efforts in the sphere of top-level design and systematic planning of human resources development. It formulated the Outline of the National Plan for Medium- and Long-term Scientific and Technological Development (2006-2020), Outline of the National Plan for Medium- and Long-term Human Resources Development (2010-2020) and Outline of the National Plan for Medium- and Long-term Educational Reform and Development (2010-2020), focusing on a strategy of prioritizing human resources development in the course of economic and social development. The plans formed the country's guidelines on the overall development of human resources in urban and rural areas, among different regions, industries and trades, and among the public and non-public sectors, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity in benefiting from related policies and participating in human resources development, and striving to realize a coordinated development of human resources of all types.

To meet the need of establishing an innovative nation, the Chinese government has launched the National High-tech R&D Program (863 Program), National Key Basic Research Program (973 Program), National Key Technology R&D Program, National Natural Science Foundation and other national programs and foundations. It has also built the National Engineering Research Center and the National Engineering Laboratory, implemented the Skills Training Plan of the "Hundred-Thousand-Ten Thousand Project," Changjiang Scholars Program and some other major human resources-related programs. In addition, it has invested more in science and technology and implemented the Project on Upgrading the Knowledge of Technical Professionals. As a result, it has trained a large number of scientific and technical professionals with high qualifications, and attracted high-caliber personnel from overseas. In 2008 the full-time R&D personnel nationwide reached 1,965,400, some 2.9 times the 1991 figure. Among these there were 1,593,400 full-time scientists and engineers, 3.4 times the 1991 figure. A total of 2,146 centers for post-doctoral studies and 1,642 post-doctoral workstations were set up, and the number of post-doctoral researchers exceeded 70,000.

To meet the needs of taking a new road to industrialization and optimizing and upgrading the industrial structure, the Chinese government has implemented the National Plan for Developing Skilled Personnel, set up public training bases and national demonstration bases for the training of highly skilled personnel, and striven to create a contingent of skilled personnel for different industries. The state has made great efforts to train people with practical skills for the countryside, implemented a plan to enhance these people's quality and put in place a project to train such people for the new countryside, and worked hard to improve the scientific and technical attainments, vocational skills and business capabilities of such people. It has also trained teachers, doctors and agricultural technicians to meet the urgent needs of rural development, and encouraged and guided personnel with different qualifications to work in the countryside.

Promoting equity in education

Free nine-year compulsory education is now available to all children, urban or rural, throughout the country. Since 2006 the Chinese government has reformed and adjusted the mechanism for ensuring funding for rural compulsory education; and since 2008 urban students undergoing compulsory education have been exempted from tuition and other fees. Nine-year compulsory education has been fully incorporated into the national financial security system.

China has been active in promoting balanced compulsory education. The government has prioritized rural areas, outlying poor areas and regions inhabited by ethnic-minority groups in allocating public educational resources, and implemented programs such as the National Compulsory Education in Poor Areas, Building Boarding Schools in Western China's Rural Areas, Modern Distance Education for Elementary and Middle Schools in Rural China, Renovating Junior Middle Schools in Central and Western China and the Plan for Special Education in Central and Western China, so as to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas and between different regions and guarantee that disadvantaged groups have access to education.

The financial aid system has been improved. The Chinese government adopts a national scholarship system, student subsidy system and national student loan system applicable to regular institutions of higher learning and vocational schools. It has provided more financial aid to ensure that students from families with financial difficulties can continue their studies. By the end of 2009 some 90 percent of students from secondary vocational schools and 20 percent of university students had received financial aid on a total of 43.06 million occasions. Since 2009 students from poor rural families studying at secondary vocational schools and students studying agriculture-related subjects in such schools have been exempted from tuitions.

Strengthening human resources training

The Chinese government has put cadre education and training in a prominent place. The state has drawn up and issued the Regulations on the Work of Cadre Education and Training (Trial), National Plan for Cadre Education and Training (2006-2010) and Opinions on the Implementation of Cadre Training Work on a Large Scale (2008-2012). With focus on the requirements of major government work and civil service posts, the government has conducted initial training, post-related training, professional training and in-service training, carried out training plans geared to the needs of the posts, promoted formal schooling training, and sent cadres to temporary posts in other places, thus effectively developing the human resources of the civil service and promoting career development for civil servants.

The Chinese government has carried out the Project on Upgrading the Knowledge of Technical Professionals. The state has, with specific and effective plans and step by step, conducted special training programs on new theories, knowledge, technologies and methods for middle- and high-level professionals in the fields important for economic, social, scientific and technological development. From 2005 to 2009, altogether three million middle- and high-level professionals participated in such training programs. The government has worked hard to build a continuing education system for technical specialists, a system that sets clear levels and categories, and that brings into full play the initiative of all aspects, gradually forming a demand-driven, continuing education mechanism characterized by the combination of the government guidance and employers' initiative, individuals' fulfillment of their duties and studying on their own initiative. In 2009 professionals involved in continuing education around China reached 30 million person/times. To promote human resources development in Western China, the Chinese government issued the Opinions on Strengthening Human Resources Development in Western China and carried out a training plan for the backbone personnel in the scientific and technological field in the Xinjiang Uygur and Tibet autonomous regions, and for professionals in the Sanjiangyuan area of Qinghai Province. In 2009 China trained 2,888 backbone scientific and technical personnel and much-needed professionals of ethnic-minority groups.

To meet the demands of different groups in finding employment, and geared to different stages of careers, the government has conducted vocational training programs, set up a vocational training system with technical schools as the mainstay and vocational training institutions as the supplement, and given full play to the roles of trade unions, Communist Youth League, women's federation, and other mass and social organizations. By the end of 2009 there were over 6,000 technical schools and employment training centers, over 20,000 privately-run vocational training institutions, and over 260,000 demonstration bases of science and technology for women, providing different education and training programs for women on 120 million occasions and enhancing women's capability of self-development. For junior and senior high school graduates who have failed to gain higher education, the government offers pre-job training courses to help them master some vocational skill or obtain a professional certificate before job hunting. For unemployed people, the government offers re-employment training courses that are relevant, practical and effective, so as to better prepare unemployed people for re-employment. For urban and rural workers who want to start businesses of their own and who have the qualifications, the government offers entrepreneurship training courses to enhance their abilities to start small businesses. For surplus rural workers who want to transfer to non-agricultural fields and urban areas, the government offers vocational training and carries out such special programs as the Sunshine Project, Training Plan for the Transfer of Rural Labor Force, Spark Technical Training and Yulu Plan to enhance their abilities to find employment in new sectors.

Since 1994, in order to comprehensively improve the quality of workers and strengthen their capabilities in finding jobs and doing their work well, China has established a professional qualification certificate system. By the end of 2009 a total of 18.433 million professionals in various fields throughout the country had obtained the required qualifications, and over 100 million qualification certificates for workers of different skill levels were issued.

Improving public service for human resources

The Chinese government has gradually increased its input in this area. In 2008 China's investment in human capital accounted for 10.75 percent of its GDP. In 2009 the state treasury spent 198.139 billion yuan on education, an increase of 84.1 percent over 2007; 127.321 billion yuan on medical and health care, an increase of 91.66 percent over 2007; 329.667 billion yuan on employment and social security, an increase of 43.2 percent over 2007; and 151.202 billion yuan on science and technology, an increase of 51.2 percent over 2007.

The government has worked hard to improve the public employment and human resources service system. It has set up integrated service institutions at the county or district level, and service centers and entities providing employment training and entrepreneurship service at the sub-district (township) and community levels, thereby forming a five-level network providing services at the province, city, county or district, sub-district (town and township) and community (administrative village) levels. By the end of 2009 there were over 10,000 public employment and human resources service institutions at or above the county or district level nationwide, and 37,000 service centers at the sub-district, town or township level, covering 97 percent of the country's sub-districts and 89 percent of its towns and townships. The government has improved its functions in public employment and human resources service, providing free services such as policy information, release of supply and demand information of the market, information about job vacancies, vocational guidance, employment assistance and entrepreneurship training, shouldering responsibilities such as employment and unemployment registration and management, and providing such services as social security management, archive management, examination and certification, and specialized services.

The government has made human resources service more IT-based. It has carried out the Golden Social Security Project, and set up an e-government system of labor and social security that covers the whole country and is based on networks at three levels: the central government level, provincial and municipal levels. It provides services such as policy consultation, access to information, handling business-related affairs and personal account checking by issuing social security cards, activating the 12333 public service line and SMS center, and building government service websites.

Deepening the reform of the personnel system for cadres

Since the reform and opening-up policies were introduced in 1978, China has made constant efforts to deepen the reform of the personnel system for cadres. It has successively issued the Guideline on Deepening the Reform of the Personnel System for Cadres and the Outline of the Plan on Deepening the Reform of the Personnel System for Cadres (2010-2020). It has adopted a system of classified management of cadres based on different characteristics of Party and government organs, public institutions and state-owned enterprises; and has gradually brought into being a personnel system for cadres that is fair and just, and full of vitality and under which people of ability have suitable posts, are able to display their abilities to the full, and can be promoted or demoted in their positions.

The civil servant system has been implemented in Party and government organs. A competitive mechanism, under which open selection, competition for positions and other competitive methods are used for cadre selection from appointment to promotion, has been introduced, and consequently competent cadres and personnel can stand out. From 2006 to 2009 over 528,000 people were recruited as civil servants through examinations. From 2003 to 2009 a total of 40,000 leading cadres of the Party and government were appointed through open selection, and 339,000 Party and government cadres at different levels took leading posts through competition. The principle of democracy is fully applied in the selection and appointment, performance assessment, management and supervision of cadres; democratic recommendation has become a compulsory procedure during the selection and appointment of cadres; public opinion surveys and democratic assessment are widely used; and cadre-related work has become more democratic. Cadre transfer work has been improved and has been institutionalized at key departments and critical posts. Centering on national strategies of economic and social development and strategies of human resources development, local plans for economic and social development, and the construction of pillar industries and major projects, leading Party and government cadres are transferred between cities, counties, provinces and central Party and government departments; and a large group of cadres have been selected from central organs and developed regions in Eastern China and sent to work in the western parts of the country. From 2003 to 2009 a total of 2.302 million cadres were transferred around China. The system regarding cadres' term of office, retirement, dismissal and resignation has been improved, making it possible for cadres to be promoted or demoted, and thus a mechanism for regular renewal and rotation of cadres has come into being. A wage system for civil servants that combines post and rank has been adopted, rationally showing the relationship between responsibilities and wages.

A personnel employment system has been introduced in public institutions. By means of employment contracts, the relationship between employing units and employees is clearly defined. By institutionalizing post setting, open recruitment, competition for positions, performance assessment and subsequent rewards and punishment, as well as resignation and dismissal, it has gradually brought into being a personnel management system for public institutions that has clearly defined rights and responsibilities, scientific classifications, flexible mechanisms and effective supervision. By the end of 2009 some 80 percent of the total staff in public institutions around China had signed employment contracts. In 2009 over 80 percent of all the new employees in public institutions in 22 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government were recruited through open recruitment. Public institutions have put in place a wage system based on post and performance, as well as a payment and incentive mechanism that closely links payment and bonus to responsibilities, performance and contribution, and encourages innovation and creation. These efforts have brought into full play the enthusiasm and creativity of human resources in these institutions.

Personnel system of state-owned enterprises has been improved. In line with the requirements of the modern corporate system, state-owned enterprises have started to form standard boards of directors, providing an institutional guarantee for the sustained, rapid and healthy development of these enterprises. They have established and improved systems concerning the selection and appointment, performance assessment, and incentives and supervision of managerial and administrative personnel. They have put in place a wage system with regulation by the market, distribution independently by enterprises, democratic participation of employees, and supervision and guidance by the government, thus promoting the development of enterprises and enhancing employees' wages. As a result, the basic role of the market in allocating human resources has been brought into full play, and a mechanism of personnel selection and appointment by the market has been established. From 2003 to 2009 the number of managerial and administrative personnel employed by way of open recruitment and competition for positions increased from 334,000 to 521,000.

Establishing a national system of honors and rewards

The Chinese government adheres to the principle of combining morale boosting with material reward, with focus on the former, and has therefore set up a national system of honors and rewards which is being constantly improved.

The state awards workers who have made major contributions to national development with the honorary titles of "National Model Worker" and "National Outstanding Worker" -- the former for workers, farmers and managerial personnel of enterprises, and the latter for personnel of government departments and public institutions. Since 1989 the Chinese government has held a national conference once every five years to award such titles to model and outstanding workers from all walks of life. So far 14,578 people have received one of the titles.

The state honors citizens and organizations making brilliant contributions to scientific and technological development with the Science and Technology Award. Since 2000, a total of 27,772 people have won this award, and among them 16 prominent scientists won the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award of China. China has two titles for academicians: One is Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the highest title in the field of science and technology, and the other is Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the highest title in the field of engineering and technology. By the end of 2009 there were 1,143 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 861 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, all of whom won the title by way of assessment and selection. Since 1990, China also practices a system of special government allowances. The Chinese government has issued certificates of honor to experts, scholars, technicians and highly-skilled personnel who have made brilliant contributions to their fields. In addition, it gives special government allowances to these people. By 2009, 158,000 people had received such allowances. In addition, the state has put in place a national system for rewarding outstanding professionals. Since 1999 a total of 200 people have won the title of "National Outstanding Professional." Since 1995 a total of 120 people have won the state's "Grand Skill Award of China" and 2,976 have won "National Technical Expert" award. They are role models of high-skilled workers in China. The government has also established a national system to reward prominent personnel from rural areas, and 160 people have been commended under this system since 2000.

IV. Bringing into Play the Fundamental Role of Market Allocation

As a socialist market economy is gradually taking root in China, the Chinese government - by way of following the objective laws of human resources development - has set out to reform the current human resources system to enable the market to play its due role in the allocation of human resources and respect workers' freedom to choose jobs. The government has been making efforts to foster and develop the human resources market, gradually achieving the transition from a planned to a market allocation of human resources.

A market allocation mechanism for human resources has basically taken shape.

Since the 1980s a multi-dimensional human resources market has gradually been formed in China as its economy, dominated by the public ownership, is growing along with diverse forms of ownership. From 1998 to 2009, the number of those working in state-owned entities dropped from 90.58 million to 64.20 million, a decrease from 41.9 percent of all urban employees to 20.6 percent; the number of those working in limited liability companies and companies limited by shares rose from 8.94 million to 33.89 million, an increase from 4.1 percent of all urban employees to 10.9 percent; and those working in private entities or self-employed grew from 32.32 million to 97.89 million, a rise from 15 percent to 31.5 percent.

Since the mid-1980s China has gradually been reforming its permanent worker system established under the planned economy, known as the "unified distribution of the work force." It gives employers the right to freely choose their workers while at the same time gives workers the right to freely choose their jobs, thus establishing a new mode of labor relations, formed basically through mutual choices, free consultation and the signing of employment contracts between employers and employees. All these factors have improved the vibrancy and efficiency of the human resources market. To adapt to the needs of a socialist market economy, the Chinese government has removed one obstacle after another in mechanisms that restrain the free flow of the work force, by reforming social security, household registration and university graduate distribution systems. These measures have contributed to the vibrant flow of labor force across the country's regions, industries and trades. In 2009 workers registered for employment at various human resources service agencies was 97 million, and 36 million people succeeded in landing jobs or changing their jobs, an increase of 77 million and 26 million respectively, as compared with the year 2000. In 2009 farmers who went to cities to seek employment or worked in non-agricultural sectors in local areas for at least six months totaled 229.78 million, of which migrant workers working outside their localities accounted for 145.33 million and those employed in secondary or tertiary industry not far from their villages reached 84.45 million.

Human resources service industry has grown rapidly.

Since the 1980s China has constantly expanded the scale and elevated the level of the human resources service industry. The service has become diversified in terms of scope and content, moving from recruitment and personnel agencies in the early period to training, labor dispatch, employment guidance, professional assessment, management consultation and human resources service outsourcing. As a result, a relatively complete service chain in this respect has been formed. In 2008 China had more than 49,000 agencies providing human resources services, basically forming a multi-level, multi-dimensional human resources service system, which consists of government-sponsored employment and personnel service agencies, private human resources service agencies and Chinese-foreign joint ventures specializing in human resources service.

V. Strengthening the Protection of the Legitimate Rights and Interests of Workers

It has been the Chinese government's consistent development concept to respect people's right to work, stress the protection of workers' rights and interests, realize the dignity of labor and promote people's all-round development. The Chinese government has adopted a series of policies and measures to strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of workers, and is effectively promoting the sound development of human resources.

Guaranteeing equal employment

In recent years, the Chinese government has endeavored to strengthen the building and management of a unified and standard market of human resources, overcome the divide between urban and rural areas, between people of different identities and between different regions - which is caused by historical factors, eliminate institutional obstacles to the development of the human resources market, and establish an equal employment system for urban and rural workers. By improving market supervision, carrying out examination of law enforcement in the human resources market, and cleaning up and rectifying illegal acts in the market, the relevant departments of the Chinese government has effectively protected the lawful rights and interests of all market elements, including job seekers.

The state makes every effort to ensure that women have equal rights to employment with men, and endeavors to remove barriers to women's equal employment. The country mobilizes various non-governmental sectors to expand the employment channels for women, and formulates and implements policies supporting women's self-employment. The positive role of women's federations at all levels is brought into full play in making known to authorities women's demands, in promoting equal employment and equal pay for equal work, and in providing rights protection services. By 2008 women workers accounted for more than 45.4 percent of the working population nationwide.

The Chinese government is formulating an overall plan for the employment of the disabled and has adopted the principle of combining centralized and decentralized employment, so as to guarantee the right to employment for the disabled. It formulates and implements policies favorable for the disabled people's employment, stipulating that every employer must hire at least one and a half persons with disabilities out of every 100 employees working in the company. Any employer with one quarter of its employees being persons of disabilities will enjoy tax preference. The government also gives advice to and helps the disabled to establish welfare enterprises of persons of disabilities, and encourages and supports them to explore flexible ways of employment. The China Disabled Persons' Federation at all levels protects the legitimate rights and interests of disabled persons and promotes their equal participation in social life. A total of 3,043 employment service agencies have been set up at the provincial, municipal and county levels to provide special employment services for the disabled. By the end of 2009 the number of disabled employees in urban areas nationwide had reached 4.434 million, and 17.57 million disabled persons in the rural areas had found stable jobs.

The state pays great attention to the protection of rural migrant workers' rights and interests. Rural migrant workers are a special group of workers that has emerged in the process of China' s reform and opening-up, industrialization and urbanization. They have made great contributions to the economic and social development of the country. In 2006 the State Council established the Joint Conference System to coordinate and guide the work on rural migrant workers across the country. China has eliminated many unreasonable restrictions on rural migrant workers' seeking jobs in cities, strengthened work safety and public health training, expanded social insurance to cover more migrant workers, established a retirement pension scheme, which ensures continuity of one's retirement insurance wherever he or she lives, and carried out such supporting programs as "Spring Warmth Action" and "Spring Breeze Action." By the end of 2009 a total of 80.1482 million rural migrant workers had become members of trade unions, almost 80 percent of the migrant workers' children were receiving free compulsory education at public schools in urban areas, and the number of migrant workers covered by insurance for work-related injuries, medical insurance, basic retirement insurance for employees of enterprises in urban areas and unemployment insurance had reached 55.87 million, 43.35 million, 26.47 million and 16.43 million, respectively.

Establishing a coordination mechanism for labor relations

China promotes the all-round implementation of the labor contract system. By the end of 2009, some 96.5 percent of China' s state-owned enterprises and enterprises of other ownership with annual sales revenue over five million yuan had signed labor contracts with their employees. The contents of labor contracts had become more standardized, and most of the labor contracts were being properly observed. China actively promotes group consultations and the group contract system, so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust between employers and employees, and seek mutual benefits for both parties to the labor contracts. By the end of 2009, the number of effective group contracts had reached 703,000, covering more than 94 million employees.

China brings into full play the function of the tripartite labor relations coordination mechanism. In 2009 a total of 14,000 tripartite labor relations coordination organizations had been established in cities above the prefecture level and counties (including county-level cities and districts) of 26 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government), which comprised government, trade union and enterprise representatives. Centering on major issues of labor relations, the tripartite mechanism plays an important role in promoting harmonious and stable labor relations through active communication, enhanced cooperation and elimination of differences.

China is vigorously promoting the building of harmonious labor relations. In 2006 the government began the campaign to establish harmonious labor relations in enterprises and industrial parks. By formulating and implementing standards of harmonious labor relations, promoting the establishment of a coordination mechanism for labor relations and commending successful examples, China promoted harmonious and stable labor relations in enterprises and industrial parks. By the end of 2009, a total of 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government had engaged in building harmonious labor relations.

China gives full play to the important role of trade unions. China's trade unions, which represent and safeguard workers' interests, play an important and irreplaceable role in promoting harmonious labor relations. In 2009 there were 1.845 million trade unions at the grassroots level, covering 3.959 million enterprises and public institutions, and the number of trade union members nationwide had reached 226.3 million. Trade unions at various levels work actively to safeguard the rights of the workers, provide guidance and help for workers in signing labor contracts with employers according to law, represent workers in group consultations and signing group contracts with employers, organize workers' participation in democratic decision making, management and supervision, take part in labor dispute mediation and arbitration, provide legal services to workers and urge employers to abide by state laws and regulations.

China is showing more care for enterprise employees. In recent years, the Chinese government has adopted active measures to deal with the misconduct of some enterprises in labor employment, urged them to give more care to the well-being of workers, improve their employees' working and living conditions, improve the mechanism for workers to voice their demands, establish platforms for workers to communicate with and help each other, and provide psychological and health consultation services for employees. Meanwhile, China properly guides public opinion with a view to creating a favorable social atmosphere conducive to the building of harmonious labor relations.

Settling labor disputes fairly and promptly

Settling labor disputes through mediation and arbitration is a remedial system with Chinese characteristics for safeguarding legitimate rights and interests of employees. To guarantee fairness and transparency in dealing with labor dispute cases, arbitration commissions are composed of three parties, namely, the representatives of appropriate departments of the government, trade unions and employers. By the end of 2009, China had 33,000 arbitrators in some 4,800 arbitration organizations.

The method of mediation and arbitration in settling labor disputes adheres to the principle of fairness, encourages parties in dispute to settle their disputes properly through consultations and mediation, and protects the legitimate rights and interests of parties concerned. In 2009 labor dispute arbitration organizations at various levels nation-wide handled 875,000 cases. Some 684,000 cases were accepted for arbitration, a decrease of 1.3 percent compared to the previous year. The cases involved 1.017 million workers, a decrease of 16.3 percent compared to the previous year. According to Chinese law, parties that disagree with labor dispute arbitration award may institute proceedings to the people's courts. In 2009 people's courts at various levels completed 317,000 labor dispute cases, and successfully protected the legitimate rights and interests of the parties in dispute.

Enhancing labor security supervision

Law enforcement as regards labor security supervision is an important way to protect the legitimate rights and interests of workers. Labor security supervision organizations are mainly responsible for publicizing laws and regulations concerning labor security, accepting and handling workers' complaints and reports, and supervising employers' observance of the relevant laws. By the end of 2009, China had established 3,291 labor security supervision organizations staffed by a total of 23,000 supervisors.

In recent years, China's labor security supervision organizations have launched campaigns to investigate breaches of laws and regulations related to labor security, and strengthened supervision on and timely handled major law-breach cases with serious social impacts. The supervision of law enforcement protects workers' rights in career introduction, labor contract signing, working hours, salary payment, social insurance and special labor protection. In 2009 China's labor security supervision organizations inspected 1.751 million employers, involving 90.298 million workers; they examined and dealt with 439,000 cases of violation of labor security laws, and ordered employers who failed to sign labor contracts with their employees to sign labor contracts with 10.737 million employees.

Since the beginning of 2009 the Chinese government has launched pilot projects of online labor security supervision and management in 60 cities so as to carry out comprehensive and dynamic supervision of employers for labor dispute prevention and timely intervention. Now, with the pilot projects working well, the new method will soon be applied nationwide.

VI. Actively Developing International Exchanges and Cooperation

The Chinese government attaches great importance to international exchange and cooperation in human resources development, earnestly fulfilling its international obligations and continuously expanding the corresponding channels and scope so as to promote the establishment of the pattern for omni-directional and multi-level exchanges and cooperation in this regard.

China values the purposes and principles for the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, committing itself to the protection of people's rights to subsistence and development. It establishes, promulgates and improves labor standards in a rational and gradual manner. The Chinese government, in line with its own economic and social development, has ratified 25 international labor conventions, such as the Convention Concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, Convention on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, and Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, and has implemented these conventions. China is improving the laws and regulations concerning its human resources development, and promoting the ratification of conventions concerning labor, including the core ones under International Labor Organization.

The Chinese government sets great store by establishing cooperative relations with international organizations or agencies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the field of human resources development, actively developing bilateral or multilateral exchange and cooperation with other countries and regions in this regard. Since China resumed its activities in the ILO in 1983, it has actively participated in international labor-related affairs, and engaged in international cooperation to boost employment, improve the social security system, establish harmonious labor relations, and formulate labor laws and regulations. In 2004 and 2007, respectively, China and the ILO jointly held the China Employment Forum and Asia Employment Forum. Since 1992 the Chinese government has actively participated and played an important role in cooperation with APEC concerning the development of human resources. In 2001 China hosted the APEC High-level Meeting on Human Capacity Building, and adopted the Beijing Initiative. In September 2010 the 5th APEC Ministerial Meeting on Human Resources Development will be held in Beijing, serving as an important platform for Asia-Pacific economies to discuss issues such as employment after the financial crisis and human resources development. China became a full member of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) in 1994, and held the 28th ISSA International Conference in Beijing in 2004, at which the Beijing Declaration was adopted. By the end of 2009, human resources and social security departments of the Chinese government had established cooperative partnership relations with more than 80 countries and some important international organizations. The Chinese government has signed accords for mutual exemption of social insurance premiums with Germany and the Republic of Korea to facilitate the flow of labor.

China has implemented a more open human resources policy since its adoption of reform and opening up to the outside world some three decades ago. The Chinese government upholds a policy that encourages people to study abroad and return home to work, and gives them perfect freedom to make their own decisions. It strives to provide more opportunities for people to study abroad, and actively attracts the talented people to come back, providing the necessary support for those who return to find work or start their own businesses, and creating good working and living conditions for them. From 1978 to the end of 2009, Chinese people who studied abroad totaled 1.6207 million, of whom 497,400 had returned to China upon completion of their studies. China implements the Support Plan for Overseas Students to Return and Start Businesses and the Project for Returned Overseas Students to Serve the Country, encouraging and attracting its overseas students to return home to work and start businesses. The Chinese government encourages foreigners to study in China and pays great attention to relative work. From 1978 to 2009, the number of foreign students from 190 countries and regions studying in China reached 1.69 million/times. China actively uses international education and training resources to cultivate talented people, initiating economic management training programs for leading officials, and overseas training programs for senior civil servants. It sent a total of 50,200 people overseas on training programs in 2009. It actively assists the United Nations in its organization of examinations in China, recommending qualified people to work in various international organizations. By the end of 2009, there were 1,002 Chinese working in different international organizations. The Chinese government has been active in bringing in foreign talent, and the number of foreign experts who came to work in China reached 480,000 person/times in 2009. By the end of 2009, there were 223,000 foreigners working in China with employment permits. By the end of 2009, China had conferred "Friendship Awards" on 1,099 foreign experts, and "International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Awards" on 43 foreign experts.

Conclusion

Along with its economic and social development, and improvement in people's living standards, China has made remarkable headway in its human resources development. But as a developing country, China is still faced with many problems such as great challenges in employment, structural imbalance in human resources development, and lack of high-level, innovative people. China faces unprecedented opportunities and challenges in the sphere of human resources development.

In the new phase of the new century, the Chinese government will put people's interests first, concentrate its care on all-round human development, and encourage and support everyone to make contributions and become accomplished in one or more fields. It will build a complete lifelong education system with the focus on making education more equitable and with improving educational quality as the core, so that all the people can enjoy their rights to education, make progress and apply what they have learned to practice. Bearing in mind that employment is the bedrock of the people's livelihood, the government will work harder to implement the strategy for increasing employment and a more active employment policy, encouraging people to start their own businesses to create more job opportunities. It will give priority to cultivating competent personnel, work harder to carry out the strategy of strengthening our nation through human resources development, focus on cultivating innovative scientists and engineers, train professionals who are in short supply and are needed by key areas for national economic and social development, and develop all types of human resources in a coordinated and all-round way. At the same time, it will persist in management innovation, break down outdated institutional barriers by deepening the reform and opening wider to the outside world, and strive to create a social environment that is full of vitality, highly efficient and more open.

In the future, wisdom and strength of the Chinese people will play a still better role, and there is bound to have a more solid foundation of human capability and human resources for the development and progress of China.

Click here for a listing of PRC-issued white papers on various topics.

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Events

October 15, 2020 - 4:00pm

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for a book talk with author David Lampton. His new book examines China’s effort to create an intercountry railway system connecting China and its seven Southeast Asian neighbors.