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Sub-anchor: Backgrounder of the NPC and NPC deputies

03-05-2012 08:27 BJT Special Report:2012 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

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Every February, the buzzword in China’s mainstream media is "Liang Hui", literally, the "Two Sessions". They refer to the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress, or the NPC, and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, or the CPPCC.

Today marks the opening day of the NPC. To give viewers some background on China’s top legislature, we’re joined in the studio by CCTV reporter Xu Zhaoqun.

PART I: What is the NPC?

The NPC is the highest organ of State power. It has a permanent body, which is the standing committee. The NPC exercises the top legislative power of the State. This includes amending the constitution and supervising its enforcement. The NPC also supervises a number of state organs, including China’s executive body, the State Council; the Supreme People’s Court; the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Central Military Commission. The NPC elects the country’s president and vice-president, as well as the heads of those state organs I’ve just mentioned. It also decides on the choices of various ministerial heads.

PART II: How are NPC deputies selected?

China has five levels of people’s congresses. The National one, of course, is the top. Deputies are elected from the level below. The second level comprises the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and special administrative regions, as well as the armed forces. The third level draws from cities. The fourth is based on cities without districts, as well as municipal districts, and counties. The fifth level draws from townships. In line with the push for grassroots democracy, deputies at the fourth and fifth levels are chosen by direct election.

There are nearly 3,000 NPC deputies. They are divided into groups by administrative regions and armed forces. Deputies serve five-year terms and meet in Beijing for a two-week session every spring. This year is the fifth and final session of the 11th NPC.

PART III What’s the function of the NPC?

Liang Hui is very important, because of its impact on people’s livelihood, and national development and policies. But, at the same time, some think the two sessions are for the top leaders only. Understanding the NPC’s functions and powers helps explain the two views.

Let’s go back to amending and overseeing the enforcement of the Constitution. Amendments must be proposed by the Standing Committee or by at least a fifth of the deputies. Passage requires a two-thirds majority.

The NPC also enacts and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, and state organs. Some examples are the Criminal Law, the Marriage Law, the Citizenship Law, and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions. The NPC has the power to elect and appoint members to central state organs, as well as to remove them from office.

One of the characteristics of the NPC is that its deputies are not only professional politicians. They can be workers, farmers, artists and entrepreneurs. This makes it possible that voices of all walks of lives can be heard in the country’s top legislation.

This year’s agenda is packed. Deputies will examine the Government Work Report presented by the premier. They will also examine and approve the 2012 plan for national economic and social development and the report on the implementation of the 2011 plan. There’s also this year’s state budget and the implementation of last year’s, and the draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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