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The Women's Federation, which includes all women at the local level, has progressively moved beyond mobilisation in support of government policies to the articulation of gender-related iSSUeS. The workplace may provide the most potential for effective participation, with the re-establishment of workers' congresses, the extension of elections, and the growing status of the trade unions. Saich ( 1986b, p. 23) is correct in pointing out that the congresses should not be confused with workers' control or participation in management, and Walder (1983, p.
It is hoped that this will provide the state with flexibility and speed when reacting to problems in the economy. The Standing Committee's power of supervision over the state organs has also been increased. The highest organ of state administration remains the State Council, which is the executive organ of the NPC. In theory it is responsible and accountable to the NPC and its Standing Committee and is, in effect, the government of China. The work of the Council is presided over by an executive board composed of the Premier, Vice-Premiers, State Councillors and the Secretary-General.
This conference marked the consolidation in the top Party leadership of a group committed to reform, and a drastic reduction in members drawn from the more cautiously minded military. Major changes were also effected at the provincial level. 30 Reforming the Political Structure The old elite, drawn from those who joined the revolution before 1949, was largely replaced by a younger and academically better-qualified generation. For example, some 52 per cent of the Secretaries of provincial Party committees early in 1986 were graduates of higher education institutions.