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People's congress system explained
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-04 09:11

People's congresses are China's basic political bodies.

The National People's Congress (NPC) is the highest organ of State power. Its permanent body is the NPC Standing Committee.

China held people's congresses at different levels in 1953, and in 1954, the First National People's Congress was convened, marking the establishment of the people's congress system.

People's congresses are responsible for creating and supervising all administrative, judicial and procuratorial bodies at every level.

Deputies to county and township people's congresses are directly elected.

Deputies to people's congress above the county level are elected by deputies at lower levels.

NPC deputies are supervised by delegates at lower levels, and are ultimately responsible to the people, who can recall them.

Each NPC term lasts five years. It convenes an annual plenary session, usually in March, to debate important national matters.

The NPC Standing Committee, elected by NPC members, has full parliamentary power when the NPC is not sitting.

The NPC Standing Committee is responsible to the NPC and reports its work to the NPC.

The NPC and its Standing Committee exercise State legislative power.

The NPC can amend the Constitution and supervises its enforcement, and formulates and amends basic statutes and other laws. It also decides on and elects the leading personnel of State-level administrative, judicial, procuratorial and military bodies, has the right to recall them, and examines and makes decisions on fundamental, long-term and key issues.

The NPC is empowered to examine and approve the national economic and social development plans and the reports on their implementation.

It is also responsible for examining and approving the State budget and the report on its implementation during its annual meeting.

All administrative, judicial, procuratorial and military organs and other State-level institutions are responsible to the NPC and supervised by it.

The NPC presidium, NPC Standing Committee, special working committees under the NPC, the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate have the right to make proposals to the NPC. The NPC presidium decides whether to put the proposals on the agenda of a plenary meeting.

An NPC delegation, composed of an election unit, a group of more than 30 NPC deputies, is also able to propose topics for debate to the NPC. The NPC presidium will judge by itself or consult its special working committees to decide whether to put the proposals on the agenda.

If selected for debate, a group of proposers has to explain the motion to the NPC. NPC delegates will debate the proposals and the presidium will make the final decision on whether to put the proposals to a vote.

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