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"主体责任" has been a hot phrase since Xi Jinping came into power in 2013, but with too many repetitions of it appearing in many publications, there have been few explanations of the true meaning found online or off line.

My understanding is that "主体" means an entity or a host that is expected to carry the reponsibility, but the other day I found in China Daily, the official media outlet of English language in China, a reporter translated the phrase as "major responsibility" where obviously "主体" became "大体" or "主要" and made me believe it was totally wrong.

What do you say?

  • search.yahoo.com/yhs/… 主体责任 main responsibilty 习近平总书记在十八届中央纪委六次全会讲话中指出,全面从严治党是各级党组织的职责所在,各级党组织及其负责人都是责任主体,必须担负起全面从严治党的主体责任。 In his speech at the at the 6th plenary meeting of the 18th Central Discipline Inspection Commission General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that it is the responsibility of party organizations at any level to rigorously control the Party, Party organizations at any level and their leading cadres are those mainly responsible, – user6065 Jul 21 '17 at 5:06
  • and must shoulder the main responsibility of rigorous all-round control of the party. – user6065 Jul 21 '17 at 5:14
  • These expressions are called 党八股. superfluous words. Just means responsibility. – Jacob Jul 21 '17 at 8:45
  • One meaning of 主体 is 事物的主要部分, the main/major/principal/chief/most part. Thus, 主体责任 can be reasonably translated into major responsibility. – user16115 Jul 24 '17 at 12:27
  • possibly 'Principal'. – Daniel Yeung Aug 25 '17 at 4:42
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习近平总书记在十八届中央纪委六次全会讲话中指出,全面从严治党是各级党组织的职责所在,各级党组织及其负责人都是责任主体,必须担负起全面从严治党的主体责任

责任主体is different from 主体责任

“责任主体” 中的“主体”的意思是entity or a host that is expected to carry the reponsibility

but “主体责任”中的“主体”的意思是major

  • Thanks, but i don't think so. 主体责任means the responsibility that a host should take, because there are too many parties involved in a case or an event most of the times, especially in China where Party chief and the head of government are two hosts, so who will be the host to carry the burden must be clarified. The quote you give above says very clear, please read it again. – NanningYouth Aug 26 '17 at 12:34
  • I read it again。now I agree with you. Now I also think the reporter‘s translation is wrong – Wendy Aug 26 '17 at 12:43
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主体 main body, essential part. when it is used as adjective, it becomes Major, Main, Essential, etc. 大体 is different from 主体 practically. 大体 is kind of knowing/understanding things from large scopes, eg. 识大体 means you understand it from very high level perspective or a large scope (so sometimes you could sacrifice small ones within that scope.)

hope this help a bit.

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I believe 主体 here means "subject" or "agent". The individual (main) body, be it a natural or a juridical person.

The descriptions of this principle that you can find on Baidu Baike stress the fact that responsibility must be carried by all party organizations(各级党组织), that responsibility must be capillar (细化责任)and that it must trickle from the top down to all levels (以上率下,层层传导压力,级级落实责任).

It makes sense in the anti-corruption campaign. It's not hard to see how corruption can be effectively fought only if everyone at all levels is accountable within their own jurisdiction (种好自己的“责任田”, i.e. they must sow their "responsibility field").

And this can be done if they all really bear their own load (真正把担子担起来).

So given all this, it's not very easy to translate this concept into English, but I think we can agree that the one you mention appears inaccurate.

I would translate this as "agentive responsibility", or, more simple, "subjective responsibility".

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