Rediscovering China: NPC and CPPCC special 03-04-2005 11:35

With China opening up to the world, more and more people from other countries are beginning to understand many things Chinese. There are however, several things they might not know, mainly on the political side. For example, the National People鈥檚 Congress and the Chinese People鈥檚 Political Consultative Conference held annually in Beijing. But what are they and what do they do?

Every March, deputies of the NPC and the CPPCC members from all over the country gather in The Great Hall of the People, to discuss issues, which will influence the country.

I鈥檓 Victoria Hamilton, and in today鈥檚 Rediscovering China, we鈥檒l be digging deep, speaking to Chinese officials from high level to grassroots, and foreign journalists to answer these two important questions.

The First Plenary Session of the NPC opened in September 1954. It was here that the first constitution, important laws, an evaluation of the Government鈥檚 work and the voting of new leaders was carried out. It changed the governing system and this is why the NPC is the highest organ of State Power.

People鈥檚 Congresses at all levels keep in close touch with the population at large so that they can actively reflect their opinions and be informed by their collective knowledge. The NPC meets in session once a year and is convened by its Standing Committee. It is then elected for a term of 5 years.

The NPC鈥檚 four main functions are to amend the Constitution; supervise the enforcement of the Constitution; enact and amend basic laws and elect the President and the Vice-President of the People鈥檚 Republic of China.

The Committee is the permanent supreme State organ of power and legislation. It exercises its power even when the NPC is not in session and reports back to the NPC.

The Standing Committee is composed of the chairman, vice-chairmen, secretary-general and members. None of them can hold office in State, administrative, judicial or procurator organs.

This is to maintain a separation of power and to better supervise these organs.

By reporting on the NPC and the CPPCC, foreign journalists are focusing on one of the most important aspects of modern China.

Within this topic, they tend to lean more towards China鈥檚 opening up, the economic growth of the country and the progress in people鈥檚 everyday life.

All the diplomats from foreign embassies living in China can attend the press conferences. Today, China has more than 260 media agencies and there are over 450 foreign journalists living in Beijing.

Last year, more than 2900 journalists in total participated in press conferences and within that, there were around 450 foreign journalists. During the congress, several press conferences were organized.

After the congress, Premier Wen Jiabao also organized a meeting with the foreign journalists.

Living in Beijing since 1981, Laurence Brahm has written 20 books aimed at foreign readers. He has his own views on Chinese politics.

The NPC deputies are chosen by democratic elections. They come from all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government. And some are elected by the armed forces.

Deputies to the NPC are organised into delegations according to the units they are elected from. They themselves then choose the State deputies.

There are in total no more than 3000 people in the NPC. Every deputy represents 960 000 people in the countryside and 240 000 in the towns. At the same time there are 12% of the assembly who represent the Chinese ethnic groups and all 56 ethnic groups participate. Taiwan, Hong-Kong and Macao also have their own representatives.

The National People鈥檚 Congress is there to understand the spirit of the Nation. It decides of the law, and its role is to enact and amend it. Part of the job of being a deputy is to collect and express the views and concern of the nine hundred million Chinese farmers living in the countryside.

The development of China鈥檚 agricultural economy is the basis of the whole country鈥檚 economic growth. Poor farmers鈥 standards of living need to be increased and the economic gap between the regions needs to be reduced. The Chinese Government needs to stress more on agriculture and help the farmers increase their production within these poor regions. The job of the NPC therefore is to listen to the farmers鈥 concerns and find solutions to their problems.

In 1991, Li Liancheng was put in charge of the village of Xi Xin Zhuang. The revenue of each of the 600 people of the village at that time was just 700 RMB. Now this has increased to 6000 RMB per annum. The poor families have increased their living standards and all of them have moved from small farm houses to their own western style two floor buildings. Due to his contributions to the village, Li Liancheng is also a deputy for the 10th Plenary Session.

Because he has been brought up in the countryside and he himself is a farmer, Li Liancheng is preoccupied by what people wish and want in the village.

By watching Mr. Li鈥檚 working procedure closely, we can see that he pays great attention to farmers鈥 everyday life concerns. He expresses what the farmers want to say, their wishes. His aim is to express himself in favour of the Chinese farmers.

Opening a farmers鈥 meeting is also a way for Li Liancheng to have the farmers鈥 opinions. His goal is to obtain more information about their concerns in order to give worthy proposals. Solving the problems in his village is Mr. Li鈥檚 biggest wish.

The proposals coming from the farmers are also a proof of the NPC democratic preoccupation. This is why the administrative procedure and ability for lawmaking is becoming better and better.

Li Liancheng has been getting up at five o鈥檆lock in the morning for many years and goes to bed every night at twelve.

All he wants is to satisfy the most possible amount of people of the village of Xi Xin Zhuang and to do his best to reconstruct the place.

Only a village chief like Li Liancheng can make Chinese farmers become really wealthy, but he knows he cannot deceive his people. This trust and responsibility relationship is the engine to the endless progress of the Chinese people.

This year, Li Liancheng鈥檚 most important proposal to the NPC is 鈥渢o get more involved in the development of the infrastructures in the Chinese countryside鈥. In total, he has three main proposals and for sure, Mr. Li will receive satisfying solutions to all of them.

As an NPC Deputy, Mr. Li鈥檚 work is over once he鈥檚 handed in his proposals to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee then goes on to revise the proposals before amending them.

The NPC鈥檚 proposals can be given by a group of deputies or by one State deputy elected by 30 assembled voices. But these proposals have to keep within the NPC鈥檚 limits of power. The President鈥檚 Assembly of the Congress has to accept them and decide if it is possible to amend them.

The NPC has to give its opinion and it has its own 9 specialist teams which are there to analyze these proposals and decide if they can be enacted and amended.

The deputies are now adding more interest to the economy, the environment and the law system.

The NPC received 1374 proposals last year. To enact and amend a law bill, the NPC has to follow several steps:

1) Express the proposal,

2) Study and analyze the proposal,

3) Make the decision and report it.

For the NPC to enact and amend a law bill the decision has to be accepted by more than half of the deputies and signed by the head of the State so he can finally proclaim it. Within more than 20 years, almost 500 law bills have been settled. Last year 22 were accepted by the NPC and The Standing Committee. And China is now on track to building an ever-solid law system.

The third is the relationship among different common rights. And finally, the fourth relationship is between several individual rights. So we must consider the whole society, all social backgrounds, everybody鈥檚 different wishes, because law is here first to ensure people鈥檚 rights. And if conflicts appear among different groups, then the law could lose its role of fairness. So, to balance the four relationships is the basis of our law鈥檚 justice.

The CPPCC or the Chinese People鈥檚 Political Consultative Conference is the highest advisory body to the Chinese Government. As a big family of all of China鈥檚 organizations, political parties and individuals, it mirrors the government鈥檚 merits and shortcomings and involves them in the Government鈥檚 work.

The Chinese People鈥檚 Political Consultative Conference was established on September 21st 1949, several days before China鈥檚 Liberation. The 662 members at that time came from membership of the Communist Party of China, other democratic parties, organizations, ethnic groups, and public figures from various sectors of the society. The composition fully represented the Chinese society at that time.

The First CPPCC Plenary session exercised the functions and powers of the National People鈥檚 Congress. It adopted a provisional constitution entitled the 鈥楥ommon Program鈥 of the CPPCC. It selected Beijing as the capital, made the five-star red flag the national flag and national emblem, chose the 鈥淢arch of the Volunteers鈥 as the national anthem, and elected the Chair man of the Central People鈥檚 Government.

The first session of the National People鈥檚 Congress held in 1954 adopted the Constitution, which stated that the NPC was the highest legislative body, but the CPPCC would continue to exist and play the role of a united front organization.

Just as the NPC, the CPPCC has a National Committee and local committees. The term of office for the National Committee and local committees is five years. The 10th CPPCC National Committee has a Standing Committee that is in charge of its day-to-day affairs, and also nine special committees, dealing with different subjects.

The famous Chinese saying has it: the one who鈥檚 watching the chess game is far clearer about it than the players themselves. The Communist Party of China, as the player, has to absorb different ideas from other political participants to overcome its own shortcomings and perfect its work. CPPCC provides such a channel to let the watchers give the communist party valuable suggestions on political, social, economical and cultural issues.

In this game, the CPPCC members are not only the watchers. 60% of members of the present 10th session come from democratic parties, ethnic groups and social organizations.

Every March, they gather in Beijing, using their democratic rights, to participate in discussions of national policies and principles, and make suggestions and proposals to the government.

The eco-protection sometimes conflicts with human activities. Many Chinese farmers need wood as energy resource. This damages the environment, while doing no good or even creating harm to their living situation. The CPPCC members, concerning this issue, made proposals on promoting the 鈥淓co-household Project鈥.

The Eco-household Project has managed to achieve to build a circle of clean energy in individual families. It is a positive way to protect the forest and to increase farmers鈥 income. And more important than that, the farmers have begun to abandon their outdated life style and have adapted themselves to modern society.

As a country with a mere 20 years鈥 history of market economy, China has made astonishing progress in economy, and science and technology. However, the CPPCC members detect that the existing laws and regulations can hardly follow the pace of the social development. This requires them to make proposals more actively and boldly on various social, economical and legal issues. Therefore, at recent CPPCC meetings, they made many revolutionary proposals to help the country make progress.

The key to the success of the CPPCC鈥檚 work is the government鈥檚 support to it, and the members fully performing their responsibilities. During decades of cooperation, the CPC and other parties and organizations, are believed by the ordinary people to have made continuous progress in benefiting the country with the CPPCC system. They have also achieved a stable friendship based on mutual understanding and assistance.

After talking with the NPC deputies and CPPCC members, I got the feeling that they had a very strong sense of participation and confidence in the system. They expressed their optimistic view of the supportive and standardized political environment in today鈥檚 China. Thanks for watching Rediscovering China. I鈥檓 Victoria Hamilton.


About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . . cycnet . eastday .
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved