China’s certification-cutting initiative enters new phase

(en.moj.gov.cn)| Updated: 2019-08-13

China's "cut certification to create convenience" reform initiative has been continuously advancing across the country, saving the public from running from pillar to post for certificates.

Take Taizhou, a port city in East China's Zhejiang province, for example. In the past, to make an out-of-town relative qualified for permanent residence in the city, a local resident had to spend days preparing a pile of certificates to prove their relationship.

But now the procedure takes the residents only a few minutes. All they have to do is show their ID cards to the local authority, who can verify their relationship online.

That's not the end of the story. Taizhou is now on its way to becoming a certification-free city with Jiaojiang, one of its districts, having already cleared 695 certification items in April.

The central government is also playing its part with the Ministry of Civil affairs cutting 24 certification items in March and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment canceling 14 in May.

Other ministries, such as the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Commerce, are prudently drafting their lists of necessary certification items and soliciting public opinions on them.   

Data from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) show that as of this April China's central government and local governments at all levels combined have removed over 13,000 certification items for the sake of public convenience.

The initiative entered a new phase as the MOJ started to pilot the notification and promise system in 13 provincial regions and five ministries in May.

Under the system, authorities must notify applicants for administrative licensing or other matters of all the required obligations regarding certification in written form at the same time, and the applicants promise in writing that they have met all the requirements and are willing to assume liability for any dishonesty. With this process, applicants no longer have to provide certificates.

The aim of the system is to build a credit-centric governance model with transparent standards, fair rules, rational expectations and clear responsibilities.

The justice departments of Liaoning province, Shanghai and Guangdong province have since started to implement the system within their respective jurisdictions. As part of the implementation they also strengthened supervision over applicants' credibility.