(Mar. 2, 2008) The State Council of China issued the State Council Decision on Abolishing Some Administrative Regulations (Guowuyuan guanyu Feizhi Bufen Xingzheng Fagui de Jueding, the Decision) on January 23, 2008; it takes effect upon publication. According to the Decision, the State Council has reviewed all 655 administrative regulations it issued up to the end of 2006, among which 49 were abolished. Another 43 were declared invalid. (The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Web site.)
The State Council review is one of the achievements of a broader project to prune administrative regulations and rules. The project was launched in February 2008, when the State Council circulated the Notice of the General Office of the State Council on the Work of Clearing Out Administrative Regulations and Rules (Guowuyuan Bangongting guanyu Kaizhan Xingzheng Fagui Guizhang Qingli Gongzuo de Tongzhi, http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2007-03/08/content_545924.htm (last visited Mar. 7, 2008), the Notice). The Notice states that the State Council, the departments of the State Council, provincial-level governments, and governments of big cities will review the administrative regulations and rules they issue, to abolish those whose main content has been replaced by new laws or regulations, to pronounce invalid those that have expired or are out-of-date, and to amend those that contain some clauses that are inconsistent with laws and regulations.
As another part of the project, on January 29, 2008, the PRC Ministry of Commerce (MOC) abolished four administrative rules issued by itself or its predecessor, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, and announced that another two were invalid. (The MOC Decision on Abolishing and Announcing Invalid Six Administrative Regulations (Shangwubu guanyu Feizhi he Xuanbu Shixiao Liuge Guizhang de Jueding), http://www.gov.cn/flfg/2008-02/29/content_905863.htm(last visited Mar. 7, 2008).) Prior to this, several other departments of the central government completed their clearance of regulations. The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) decided to abolish or amend seven rules and documents on October 8, 2007. (The SEPA Decision on Abolishing and Amending Some Administrative Rules and Normative Documents (Guanyu Feizhi Xiugai Bufen Guizhang he Guifanxing Wenjian de Jueding), SEPA official Web site,.) The Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) of the State Council vowed to clear administrative regulations periodically in the future. (Official in Charge of the State Council LAO Answered Questions of Journalist on the Decision on Abolishing Some Administrative Regulations (Guowuyuan Fazhiban Fuzeren jiu Guowuyuan guanyu Feizhi Bufen Xingzheng Fagui de Jueding Da Jizhe Wen), http://www.gov.cn/zwhd/2008-01/23/content_864561.htm(last visited Mar. 7, 2008).)