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    » 03/04/2005, 00.00

    CHINA

    Chinese legislative and consultative institutions (an overview)



    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tomorrow the Third Session of the Tenth National People's Congress opens in Tiananmen Square. It is scheduled to last about two weeks.

    In the meantime the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference opened yesterday till March 12.

    National People's Congress

    The National People's Congress (NPC) is China's highest law-making institution, it has the power to amend the constitution and promulgate laws of 'national significance'.

    The 2,985-strong body appoints and dismisses national leaders and government ministers.

    Its members come from the country's 31 province-level divisions—22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities, and 2 special administrative regions (Macau and Hong Kong)—and the military. A small delegation represents Taiwan, which mainland China considers a rebel province, even though none of them live on the island or have been elected by any of the 23 million islanders.

    NPC delegates are elected for five years. In principle, any adult over the age of 18 can vote, but often they are simply appointed by provincial officials.

    The NPC meets once a year, with a Standing Committee meeting in between the annual plenary sessions to vet laws and perform other duties. The Standing Committee is supported by the Legislative Affairs Commission, as well as three committees, including the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee.

    On its annual plenary session the NPC examines the government's economic statement that the Prime Minister submits. It also vets the government's budget, development plan reports as well as proposals from the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

    On the last day of the NPC conference, NPC delegates vote on these reports and proposals.

    The current NPC president is Wu Bangguo, 63, a former vice Premier; he is considered the second top ranking member of the Communist Party. 

    Mr Wu was elected in 2003 replacing Li Peng.

    The Congress is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party. When voting, delegates normally follow the directives of top party officials; occasionally though, some delegates have vented their frustration by voting against. Still  NPC votes are inconsequential since decisions are taken elsewhere.

    The NPC holds its sessions in the Great Hall of the People, next to Tiananmen Square. The Hall was built in 1959 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and can welcome up to 10,000 people.

    Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

    Before the NPC was created in 1954, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was the highest national body, responsible for the promulgation of legislation crucial to the founding of the People's Republic.

    Today, the CPPCC is not a law-making body and it has no power over the appointment of officials. Many of its members are retired government leaders, scholars, experts and private businesspeople, as well as prominent artists and athletes, who mainly play a consultative role to the leadership. The CPPCC chairman is Jia Qinglin.
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    See also

    12/03/2014 CHINA
    Communist Party fails to heed Consultative Conference's advice
    Academics want consultative body to play a greater role. Since Mao's reign, the former has been only a useless "decoration". Bishops who sit in the conference have always failed to guarantee Catholic communities a modicum of freedom, or get the release of jailed fellow bishops. Some propose to cut the number of delegates.

    13/03/2013 CHINA
    Communist leaders reject Western-style reform
    The new head of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Yu Zhengsheng urges delegates not to follow foreign models or heed foreign demands. As new President Xi Jinping calls on the armed forces to remain loyal to "avoid collapse", Internet users and intellectuals voice their criticism.

    03/03/2008 CHINA
    Beijing between admissions and denials on its one-child policy
    As the People’s Political Consultive Confererence gets ready to meet, contradictory statements over the one-child policy are heard. For experts it is proofs of internal party divisions.

    12/03/2005 CHINA
    One criminal suspect in five is a juvenile


    04/03/2005 CHINA - NPC 2005
    Tight security surrounds annual session of parliament
    Police detains dozens of unemployed workers. US photo reporter is beaten up.



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