By Ben Westcott and Serenitie Wang

China’s government is about to be massively restructured to fit President Xi Jinping’s agenda.

From a powerful new financial regulator to a super ministry to deal with the environment, wide-reaching changes to the way China is governed were passed by the National People’s Congress, the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, on Saturday.

Experts said the sweeping reforms were some of the largest since the end of the Mao Zedong era in the 1970s.

“Clearly Xi is shoring up his power, but I would suggest what China also wants to do more than anything else is define a mode of government which is not liberal and at the same time … is predictable, reliable, which is safe for businesses to invest in,” Rana Mitter, director of the University China Center at Oxford, told CNN.

It comes just a week after the term limits on the Chinese presidency were removed by the National People’s Congress as part of a power grab by Xi which effectively allows him govern for life if he chooses. He was confirmed for a second, five-year term in office on Saturday.

According to state media, under the new plan the number of ministerial-level bodies will be reduced by eight to make the government “better-structured (and) more efficient.”

However, Mitter said the entire Chinese power structure has effectively been reshaped around Xi’s priorities, including cracking down on corruption, shoring up the economy and environmental protection.

Here are five of the most significant changes and what they mean for China.

Environmental super ministry formed
China is creating an environmental protection super ministry to tackle the growing problem of pollution in its fast-growing economy, the government announced Tuesday.

Air pollution killed more than 1.1 million people in China in 2015, the most in the world, according to a study published by the US-based Health Effects Institute.

Replacing the Ministry for Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Ecological Environment will set China’s future environmental policies as well as ensuring they are properly enforced.

New evidence from a University of Chicago study found China was making progress in its “war on pollution,” improving air quality by as much as 42% in parts of the country.

Continue reading at CNN…

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Areas of Focus: Environment
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