REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS
Delivered at the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress on May 25, 2020
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress
On behalf of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), I now present to you this report on its work for your deliberation.
Major initiatives since the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress
The time that has passed since the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress has been one of the most unusual and difficult periods in our country’s history. The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has provided unified leadership for advancing our great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream, kept abreast of the times with a strong sense of responsibility, effectively responded to major challenges, major risks, and major issues, and achieved new breakthroughs in the undertakings of the Party and the state. After the covid-19 outbreak began, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core made epidemic prevention and control the absolute priority. General Secretary Xi Jinping personally took charge of directing and planning the response and put the health and safety of the people first as he led the Party, the military, and people of all ethnic groups in China in an all-out people’s war to curb the spread of the virus. Through arduous efforts, decisive victories were achieved in the battle to defend Hubei Province and the city of Wuhan, and major strategic successes were made in the fight against covid-19 across the country, allowing us to secure positive results in advancing both epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development. This once again reflected the powerful guiding role played by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and demonstrated the outstanding leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core in coordinating overall efforts, taking bold and decisive action, and charting the path forward. It also spoke volumes to the marked advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and showed how the Chinese people, with their brave and tenacious spirit, can overcome any challenge, never succumbing to hardship but rather rising from it and growing stronger.
Since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak, the NPC Standing Committee has acted promptly and performed its lawful duty while rigorously implementing the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee. We issued the decision to completely ban the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife, thereby protecting against public health risks and promoting the betterment of society. In line with the requirement to modernize China’s governance system and capacity for governance, and in light of new issues and circumstances in the public health field, the Standing Committee arranged for the enactment and revision of laws to strengthen the system of legal guarantees for public health in order to build a stronger line of defense for the health and safety of the people through the rule of law. We responded to public concerns, actively reached out to the public to clarify epidemic prevention and control laws, and provided legal support for anti-epidemic efforts and economic and social development.
Since last year, the Standing Committee has earnestly exercised its statutory powers of enacting laws, conducting oversight, making decisions, and appointing and removing officials. In total, we deliberated 48 drafts of laws and decisions and adopted 34 of them, including 5 new laws, 17 revisions of existing laws, and 12 decisions on legal issues and major issues. We heard and deliberated 39 work reports, inspected the enforcement of 6 laws, conducted 3 special inquiries and 7 research projects, and passed 1 resolution. We also approved 5 bilateral treaties, and reviewed 38 bills covering a total of 282 appointments or removals of employees of state bodies. We achieved new progress and new results in all fields of our work.
I. We worked to ensure full implementation of the Constitution in all aspects of state governance.
As China’s fundamental law, the Constitution represents the most concrete embodiment of the will of the Party and the people. Upholding law-based governance and the lawful use of power begins with the Constitution.
Under the leadership of the CPC and in accordance with constitutional stipulations, the Standing Committee made the decision to confer national medals and titles of honor on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, with President Xi Jinping signing a presidential order to this effect. The nation’s highest honor was awarded to 36 prominent figures who have made outstanding achievements in the development of the People’s Republic of China, as well as 6 foreigners who have contributed greatly to cooperation and exchange between China and other countries. This was the first time that a ceremony was held to award multiple national medals since the current Constitution came into force. The Standing Committee also made the decision to grant special pardons to certain criminals serving prison sentences, with President Xi Jinping signing and issuing the order. Through rigorous legal procedures, a total of 23,593 criminals in nine categories received pardons. This represents another major step in the exercise of constitutional stipulations regarding special pardons.
In accordance with the guidelines laid out at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, the Standing Committee heard and deliberated the report of the State Council on maintaining national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Following relevant stipulations of the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, we formulated and deliberated the Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security (Draft), and made the decision to submit it to this session for review. This represents a major move for upholding and improving the system of institutions under the policy of One Country, Two Systems, for maintaining law-based governance of Hong Kong, and for protecting the special administrative region’s constitutional order as defined in the Constitution and the Basic Law that fits the fundamental interests of all Chinese people, including those from Hong Kong. I am confident that through the joint efforts of all deputies, we will be able to complete this important legislative task so as to provide stronger legal guarantees for upholding our nation’s sovereignty, security, and development interests and for ensuring Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.
We conducted inspections of constitutional compliance and recorded and reviewed normative documents in accordance with the law. We formulated guidelines on the implementation of constitutional compliance inspections, responded appropriately to concerns regarding Constitution-related issues, and used legal processes to correct normative documents that conflicted with the Constitution and other laws in order to ensure that the Constitution is fully observed and enforced. We improved systems and mechanisms for putting on record and reviewing regulations and judicial interpretations, set up a unified digital platform for the recording and review of normative documents that covers the whole country, and tentatively completed the national database of laws and regulations. For the third year in a row, we heard and deliberated the work report on the recording and review of normative documents and made it available to the public. A total of 1,995 administrative regulations, local statutes, and judicial interpretations and 33 local laws of the special administrative regions were submitted for the record in 2019, and we examined 138 suggestions on our review work from citizens and organizations. Through review, we compelled relevant bodies to correct 506 normative documents that conflicted with the Constitution or other laws, thus safeguarding the unity, sanctity, and authority of the country’s legal system.
We conducted activities to publicize the Constitution, raising people’s awareness of it. We organized six ceremonies for 18 officials to publicly pledge allegiance to the Constitution when they took office, with members of the Chairperson’s Council chairing the ceremonies and administering the oath, thus enhancing constitutional awareness among public servants. We hosted a symposium for the sixth National Constitution Day with the theme of fostering the spirit of the Constitution and promoting modernization of China’s governance system and capacity for governance, and encouraged all levels and localities to conduct various activities to promote the Constitution. We hosted a symposium to mark the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region in order to promote awareness and implementation of the policy of One Country, Two Systems, the Constitution, and the Basic Law.
II. We continued to improve the Chinese socialist legal system.
With a focus on comprehensively advancing the rule of law, we placed equal emphasis on making new laws, revising existing ones, abolishing those that are unnecessary, and interpreting laws that need clarification, stressed both quality and efficiency, strengthened legislative work in important fields, and made constant efforts to legislate in a more well-conceived, democratic, and law-based manner.
In coordination with efforts to comprehensively deepen reform, we worked to guarantee that major reforms have a legal basis. After adopting the Foreign Investment Law, we completed its integration with relevant laws by revising a package of laws on construction, fire protection, digital signatures, urban and rural planning, vehicle and vessel taxes, trademarks, unfair competition, and administrative approval. We revised the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protecting the Investments of Taiwan Compatriots in order to ensure that our Taiwan compatriots are able to share in the benefits of reform. We deliberated draft laws on the urban construction and maintenance tax, the deed tax, and export control, authorized the State Council to temporarily adjust the application of relevant laws and regulations in pilot free trade zones, and authorized jurisdiction of Macao’s port zone at Hengqin port and its extended areas to the Macao SAR, all in response to the legal needs raised by contemporary circumstances and the process of reform. We authorized the State Council to temporarily adjust the application of relevant provisions of the Land Administration Law, the Seed Law, and the Maritime Law to support Hainan in building the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone and a free trade port with Chinese features. Sticking to the legislative principles of promoting reforms, protecting the rights and interests of investors, and strengthening oversight, we conducted four deliberations on the Securities Law, giving affirmation to outcomes of reform including the registration-based IPO system, and thus provided legal guarantees for reform and healthy development of the capital market.
In an effort to practice the new development philosophy, we promoted high-quality development with high-quality legislative work. We enacted the Resource Tax Law, and revised the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Waste and the Forest Law, thereby incorporating the concepts of putting the environment first, pursuing green development, and fostering harmony between humans and nature into legislative work through multiple approaches and on multiple levels. We drafted and deliberated the draft law on Yangtze River conservation, thereby using legal measures and the force of the law to protect this deeply important waterway in the spirit of promoting well-coordinated environmental conservation and avoiding excessive development. We deliberated the draft revision of the Copyright Law to better protect intellectual property rights and step up the fight against encroachment. Through revision of the Land Administration Law and the Law on Administration of Urban Real Estate, we stuck to the bottom line and legislative orientation of only increasing and never decreasing protections for the interests of farmers, and provided institutional guarantees for putting idle land resources to use, increasing farmers’ property income, bolstering the protection of farmland, and promoting integrated development of urban and rural areas.
With fulfilling the people’s aspirations for a better life as our goal, we accelerated legislation pertaining to public wellbeing. We formulated the Law on Promoting Basic Medical and Health Care to provide legal guarantees for delivering comprehensive health care for our people at all stages of life. We revised the Pharmaceutical Administration Law to promote the solution of problems of great concern to the people, including the issue of counterfeit or substandard drugs, high drug prices, and drug shortages. We formulated the Vaccine Management Law to provide more secure guarantees for the processes of developing, producing, distributing, and administering vaccines. Drawing lessons from covid-19 prevention and control efforts, we formulated and implemented special plans for enacting or revising laws in an effort to strengthen the system of legal guarantees in the public health sector. We set up a task force to make overall plans for enacting or revising 30 laws, with the aim of completing most of these legislative tasks within a year or two. We deliberated draft revisions of the Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention to enhance monitoring and early warning of epidemics originating from animals. We drafted the law on biosafety and conducted deliberations on the draft, in a bid to formulate a law that guards against biological risks, promotes the development of biotechnology, and serves as a pillar of the country’s biosafety system.
With a focus on developing our state system and national governance system, we enhanced legislation pertaining to supervision, justice, social governance, and national security. We deepened reform of the national supervision system, made a decision on the formulation of supervisory regulations by the National Commission of Supervision, and deliberated the draft law on administrative discipline for government employees. We formulated the Community Correction Law, deliberated draft revisions of the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on Preventing Juvenile Delinquency, and made the decision to abolish the system of “custody and education” for prostitution related offences and related legal regulations, so as to better meet the requirements for social governance in the new era. We revised the Judges Law and the Public Procurators Law, and authorized pilot reforms for streamlining civil litigation procedures, in an effort to consolidate and further our achievements in reform of the judicial system. We formulated the Cryptography Law and deliberated draft revisions of the Archives Law to improve legal systems for governance in relevant fields.
The draft Civil Code submitted to this session for deliberation represents an important milestone in our country’s advancement of the rule of law. Building upon the work of the Standing Committee of the last NPC, the current Standing Committee accelerated efforts to compile the Civil Code. In August 2018, we conducted an overall review of all draft books of the Civil Code, and then carried out multiple reviews of individual units as well as a review of the complete draft of the Civil Code. We also solicited opinions from the public on seven occasions, receiving more than 900,000 comments from various sectors. Through repeated and meticulous revisions, we have compiled this draft Civil Code which consists of 1,260 articles in 7 books. We are confident that, through the careful deliberation of all our deputies, we will be able to produce a civil code that boasts Chinese characteristics, encapsulates the spirit of the times, reflects the will of the people, and safeguards civil rights and social fairness and justice.
Our legislative work since last year has provided us with the following important lessons: as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, our legislative work must meet the new requirements for the development of the cause of the Party and the state, uphold a people-centered philosophy, and ensure that the propositions of the Party are translated into the will of the state through legally stipulated procedures. We must see that new experiences and achievements captured in reform and opening up are promptly reflected in legislation, that the decision-making processes for legislation and reform are interlinked and unified, and that our laws become more timely, systematic, targeted, and effective, in a continued effort to improve the Chinese socialist legal system.
III. We advanced oversight work in line with our legally prescribed duties and with a focus on major tasks in reform and development.
We continued to exercise proper and effective oversight, put focus on ensuring that administrative, supervisory, judicial, and procuratorial powers are exercised properly and in accordance with the law, and laid emphasis on urgent problems of immediate concern to the people, with a view to seeing that the people share more fully and fairly in the fruits of reform and development, better promoting economic and social development, and aiding the advancement of reform tasks.
We conducted law-based oversight on the plans and budgets of the government. We heard and deliberated reports on the implementation of the plan for national economic and social development and on budget execution, and put forward more than 300 comments and suggestions on meeting major targets, fulfilling key tasks, and ensuring more effective use of funds in order to facilitate progress in the three critical battles against poverty, pollution, and potential risks and in efforts to stabilize employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations. We heard and deliberated reports on the auditing of the execution of central government budgets and other items of revenue and expenditure and on the rectification of problems discovered through audit in 2018, and urged relevant departments to strictly abide by financial and economic laws and regulations and thoroughly rectify any relevant problems.
Expanding the focus of budget review and oversight of people’s congresses to cover expenditure budgets and policies and enhancing oversight over the management of state-owned assets are two important tasks that the CPC Central Committee has entrusted to people’s congresses. In line with the requirement to ensure exhaustive review and exercise oversight at all stages, the Standing Committee formulated guidelines for further strengthening oversight by the standing committees of people’s congresses at all levels on the rectification of prominent problems discovered through audit so as to promote the thorough implementation of the CPC Central Committee’s decisions and plans in the compilation and execution of budgets. Focusing on key issues such as the implementation of fiscal policies, the execution of departmental budgets, the availability of transfer payments, the issuance and use of local government bonds, the enforcement of policies and measures for pollution prevention and control, and the allocation of government funds, we conducted follow-up oversight by organizing 25 research projects, hearing 35 summary reports, holding 4 special deliberation meetings, and carrying out inspection over 9 special funds. We thus stepped up inspection and oversight on how efficiently government funds are used and how effectively policies are implemented. We pushed local people’s congresses to implement reform measures to expand the focus of their budget review and oversight to cover expenditure budgets and policies, with all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government formulating guidelines on the implementation of these measures. In line with the goal of conducting comprehensive, standardized, open, transparent, and effective oversight, we formulated a five-year plan for overseeing the management of state-owned assets, and deliberated a comprehensive report on the management of state-owned assets and a special report on the management of state-owned assets of government administrative offices and public institutions in 2018, with a view to enhancing the depth, breadth, quality, and efficiency of oversight on the management of state-owned assets. We also encouraged local governments to extend the system for reporting on the management of state-owned assets to cities with subsidiary districts and autonomous prefectures.
We took solid steps to conduct effective oversight on special topics. We heard and deliberated 11 work reports by the State Council regarding special topics, including management of physicians and implementation of the Practicing Physicians Law, reform and development of preschool education, promotion of social assistance, development of rural industries, reform of the rural collective property rights system, development of cultural industries, acceleration of the transformation and upgrading of foreign trade, reduction of taxes and fees, allocation and use of government funds for ecological conservation and environmental protection, and the state of the environment and fulfillment of environmental protection targets in 2018 and 2019. On this basis, we facilitated efforts to resolve prominent issues of immediate concern to the people, and promoted supply-side structural reform and high-quality economic development. We conducted research on 7 special initiatives, namely those for combatting poverty, invigorating border regions inhabited by ethnic minorities and benefitting the people living there, forestalling and defusing systemic financial risks, responding to the challenge of population aging, managing and reforming old-age insurance funds, implementing the National Security Law, and reforming the supervision system and implementing the Supervision Law, and put forward suggestions for enhancing and improving relevant work.
We strengthened oversight over judicial work. After hearing and deliberating the report on the work of people’s courts to ensure enforcement of rulings in 2018, we strengthened follow-up oversight in 2019 by hearing and deliberating the report on the handling of related comments of Standing Committee members, thus consolidating the progress that has been made in generally resolving difficulties in the enforcement of court rulings. We heard and deliberated the report on enhancing criminal trials in order to promote reform of the criminal procedure system with a focus on court proceedings. We heard and deliberated a report on the public interest litigation work of procuratorates and carried out a special inquiry on this topic in order to ensure that procuratorial organs effectively fulfill their legally prescribed duties to safeguard national interests and the interests of the public.
We conducted law enforcement inspections in line with legal stipulations. We improved working mechanisms and methods for inspecting law enforcement, and carried out inspection in strict accordance with legal stipulations, pushing relevant parties to strictly implement laws and rigorously perform their legally prescribed duties. We inspected the enforcement of six laws, including the Law on Promoting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, the Higher Education Law, the Law on Promoting Employment, the Law on Renewable Energy, and the Fisheries Law. We also conducted two special inquiries on the basis of our deliberations on inspection reports regarding the enforcement of the Law on Promoting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution. While inspecting enforcement of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution and three other laws, we introduced third-party evaluations to make our inspections more scientific, objective, and authoritative. We worked actively to explore new forms and methods of assessing the implementation of laws, conducted evaluations after the enactment of laws including the Law on Promoting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Enterprise Bankruptcy Law, and the Product Quality Law, and put in place a closed-loop system incorporating legislative decision-making, institutional design, the implementation of laws, and feedback on efficacy, with a view to raising the quality of legislation and oversight.
IV. We improved working systems and mechanisms for supporting and serving deputies in the law-based performance of their duties.
NPC deputies are members of the highest organ of state power. By respecting the rights of deputies, we show our respect to the rights of the people, and by ensuring that deputies lawfully perform their duties, we guarantee that the people remain masters of the country. With this in mind, the Standing Committee formulated 35 measures for strengthening and improving work related to NPC deputies in an effort to support and guarantee the law-based performance of their duties.
We earnestly handled the suggestions and proposals of deputies. Special committees of the NPC deliberated suggestions and proposals put forward by deputies during the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress in accordance with the law. Putting equal emphasis on the processes and the outcomes, departments charged with handling deputies’ suggestions maintained direct contact with involved parties, and informed deputies and their electoral bodies on progress and results in a timely manner. Relevant special committees completed their examination of all 491 proposals referred to them by the Presidium. Among these, 12 legislative items addressed in 27 of the proposals were reviewed and adopted, 9 legislative items addressed in 56 of the proposals were submitted for review, and 65 legislative items addressed in 191 of the proposals were included in our five-year legislative program or annual legislative plan. A total of 8,160 suggestions were referred to 193 departments for implementation, with feedback given to deputies, and 71.3% of the problems raised in these suggestions were either solved or addressed with plans to solve them over time. A total of 22 key suggestions drawn from 276 deputies’ suggestions were handled under the oversight of seven special committees, which helped resolve a number of practical issues. We made earnest efforts to handle 560 opinions and suggestions that were raised when the NPC was not in session. Of these, 210 were brought up by deputies directly, 63 were referred by members of the Chairperson’s Council, 10 were referred by members of the Standing Committee, and 277 were raised by invited deputies during Standing Committee meetings.
We exerted the role of deputies in legislative work. We established legislative tasks based on deputies’ proposals and invited deputies to directly participate in the research, drafting, debate, deliberation, and assessment processes involved in creating draft laws. Drafts of laws with far-reaching and fundamental significance were issued to all deputies to solicit their comments, while drafts of laws concerning highly specialized fields were issued to deputies from corresponding disciplines and professional fields for comment.
We enhanced the Standing Committee’s contact with deputies. We improved mechanisms for members of the Standing Committee to get in touch with deputies, and encouraged special committees and working committees to remain in closer contact with deputies. Members of the Standing Committee kept in contact with deputies by various means and maintained open channels for deputies to report on situations and convey opinions, helping them to better understand circumstances at the primary level and get a clearer picture of public concerns. We improved mechanisms for deputies to participate in the work of the Standing Committee and special committees, reaching attendance of 74 in law enforcement inspections, 73 in budget review and oversight, and 298 in meetings of the Standing Committee in a non-voting capacity. We also held discussions with deputies invited to attend Standing Committee meetings on five occasions.
We fostered closer ties between deputies and the people. We encouraged local people’s congresses to arrange for NPC deputies to attend activities organized by liaison offices and local legislative outreach offices close to them. Local people’s congresses at all levels have established 228,000 liaison offices, thereby setting up a platform covering urban and rural areas that will help deputies perform their duties by having a foothold in local communities and remaining in closer touch with the people. Deputies worked to solicit and convey opinions and suggestions from the public through multiple means, and effectively performed their important function of transmitting information between higher and lower levels.
We improved services for deputies. We organized research projects and inspection tours for 1,830 deputies, which resulted in 91 reports. We continued to channel training resources toward primary-level deputies, and organized training programs over the year that drew more than 1,900 attendees. Total attendance in centralized training has surpassed 3,200 since the First Session of the 13th NPC, with essentially all primary-level deputies involved in study sessions on matters pertaining to their duties. We made coordinated arrangements for deputies to participate in activities promoting contact between deputies and the State Council, the National Commission of Supervision, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, with attendance in these activities reaching 1,254. By enhancing communication with the organizations where deputies work, we created better conditions for deputies to perform their duties.
In the fight against covid-19, NPC deputies and deputies to local people’s congresses have reacted swiftly to the commands of the CPC Central Committee. Following the leadership and arrangements of Party committees and governments at different levels, they have devoted themselves to fighting against the epidemic on the front lines. They have conducted scientific research, worked to guarantee the provision of supplies, donated funds and supplies, and offered suggestions and proposals, playing an active role on every front through their respective posts. Through concrete actions, they have practiced their honorable mission of representing the people, working for the people, and serving the people.
V. We carried out our work on international exchanges in the service of the overall diplomatic work of the Party and the state.
In implementing Xi Jinping’s thinking on diplomacy and exerting the functional role of the NPC in China’s diplomatic initiatives, we took steps to make the NPC’s work on international exchanges more active, targeted, and coordinated. We received a total of 53 delegations from 36 countries and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and sent 65 delegations on visits to 60 countries and one regional parliamentary organization.
Making it our top priority to see through the outcomes and consensus reached in diplomatic work at the head-of-state level, we stepped up friendly exchanges between the NPC and the parliamentary bodies of other countries. We worked to provide legal and policy guarantees for deepening practical cooperation in all areas, with a focus on our major diplomatic objectives of developing major country relations, strengthening good relations between China and neighboring countries, and boosting solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. We took active steps to share information about Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as well as China’s path, theory, system, and culture and its experience in national governance with the world, in an effort to help the international community better understand China, the CPC, and socialism with Chinese characteristics. We deepened cooperation and exchange with the parliamentary bodies of relevant countries in support of major diplomatic events hosted by China such as the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the second China International Import Expo. In our role as a legislative body, we also urged relevant countries to ensure the safety of our citizens and interests overseas, thereby aiding in the implementation of China’s opening up strategy.
We stepped up exchanges with the parliamentary bodies of other countries through bilateral mechanisms, and actively participated in multilateral parliamentary exchanges. We held the fifth meeting of the committee for cooperation between China’s NPC and the Russian Federal Assembly, and carried out exchanges with the national parliamentary bodies of France, Japan, and Brazil through bilateral mechanisms. With 4 newly established bilateral friendship groups, the NPC has now set up a total of 129 friendship organizations with the parliamentary bodies of other countries. This has helped deepen mutual understanding and boost friendship between China and relevant countries. We sent delegations to attend the 140th and 141st Assembly of the IPU, the Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit at the G20, the 28th annual conference of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, the fourth Meeting of the Speakers of the Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments, the third Speakers’ Conference of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey, the BRICS Parliamentary Forum, the third World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development, the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization, the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Conference on Environment and Development, and the Antarctic Parliamentarians’ Assembly, taking advantage of multilateral venues to strengthen communication and coordination. We held a seminar for members of parliament from developing countries, a seminar for members of parliament from French-speaking countries in Africa, and a seminar for members of parliament from Myanmar, and hosted 74 members of parliament from 14 countries on study and exchange visits in China, thereby deepening exchanges and mutual learning with regard to national governance.
We deepened exchanges on legislative issues. By leveraging mechanisms for legal cooperation and exchange with relevant countries, we intensified exchanges on the theoretical, institutional, and practical aspects of legislation. We carried out special discussions with and inspection tours in relevant countries on topics including technical standards in the legislative process, regional coordination on legislation, and legislative work regarding issues such as civil codes, patents, the protection of minors, administrative punishment, and environmental protection. We actively publicized China’s system of people’s congresses, took effective steps to share and clarify information regarding China’s Constitution and the Foreign Investment Law, and introduced China’s legislative achievements in areas such as combating money laundering, protecting intellectual property rights and the environment, and opening up more broadly to the outside world.
We arranged for three delegations of Tibetan NPC deputies to visit relevant countries and regions in order to share and clarify information about China’s policies on ethnic minorities and religious groups, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and to introduce our achievements in advancing economic and social development in ethnic autonomous areas. We arranged for 27 NPC deputies from the primary level and deputies to local people’s congresses to participate in the NPC’s foreign exchange activities. By personally telling stories about their work, they illustrated for the international community how the Chinese people act as masters of our country.
VI. We intensified self-improvement efforts with a focus on upholding the unity between the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and law-based governance.
Upholding the unity between the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and law-based governance is an essential requirement for pursuing socialist political development and for upholding and improving the people’s congress system, as well as one of the major tasks for strengthening Party building and self-improvement of the NPC.
We upheld the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and ensured that the Party’s leadership covers all areas of the NPC’s work at every stage. We earnestly carried out the intraparty educational campaign on the theme of “staying true to Party’s founding mission,” enhanced our theoretical competence, and built a stronger sense of responsibility and mission for serving the people and working tirelessly toward the Party’s historic objectives. With a view to raising our capacity to perform our duties and making our work more efficient, we held six lectures on related topics. We held the second seminar for studying General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important thinking on upholding and improving the system of people’s congresses. Through this seminar, we acquired a deeper understanding and firmer grasp of the system’s significance and the practical requirements for the work of people’s congresses in the new era. We also completed the election of a new council for the China Institute of Theory on the People’s Congress System, and took comprehensive measures to improve theoretical and practical research on people’s congresses.
We expanded public participation in the work of people’s congresses in an organized manner, and solicited the views of the people through various channels, thereby truly ensuring that we exercise our authority and fulfill our duties in service of the people. We fully executed the CPC Central Committee’s eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct and the detailed rules for its implementation, and took a firm stance against bureaucratism and the practice of formalities for formalities’ sake. We arranged research activities in a coordinated manner to help deputies understand and convey the people’s thoughts and expectations in a timely manner. The Standing Committee and special committees carried out nearly 300 research projects last year. We took full advantage of legislative outreach offices by directly soliciting views and ideas from the public, and encouraged the general public to participate in the entire legislative process. We were thus able to collect suggestions and advice and convey them in an authentic and accurate manner. We intensified and improved work related to the handling of people’s complaints, setting up an online platform for administrative bodies of the NPC to receive and process public complaints. Nearly 80,000 letters and visits were handled, with 178 letters forwarded via deputies, helping the NPC promptly address the justified appeals of the public in accordance with the law.
As the legislative organ of the state, the NPC and its Standing Committee sets an example in observing the Constitution and other laws by ensuring that our work and duties are performed in accordance with the law. We strictly enforced the Legislation Law, the Oversight Law, and the rules for Standing Committee deliberations, thereby guaranteeing that every meeting, every agenda, and every proposal conforms to constitutional and legal regulations and statutory procedures. We remained committed to making decisions and exercising our authority on a collective basis, and made reasonable arrangements for plenary sessions as well as group and panel deliberations. In an effort to foster democracy and gather a wide range of opinions while building consensus, we practiced the principle of democratic centralism throughout the performance of our duties. With a view to fully performing our legally prescribed duties, we improved the organization of meetings and imposed strict discipline during meetings. More specifically, we kept the attendance rate of Standing Committee meetings above 97 percent, and made sure that every attending deputy cast a vote on each issue via electronic voting device, thus seeing that the power vested in us by the people was exercised effectively and properly.
Special committees of the NPC earnestly performed their legally prescribed duties, and played an important role in researching, drafting, and deliberating relevant proposals, as well as in assisting the Standing Committee on its work related to legislation, oversight, deputies, and foreign relations. We took comprehensive steps to press ahead with the development of the administrative bodies of the NPC with regard to political awareness, theoretical competence, organization, conduct, and discipline. To be specific, we carried out two rounds of internal inspections, put greater stress on conducting cautionary education and preventing potential corruption, and better exerted the role of these bodies as advisors, assistants, and service-providers in the work of the NPC, thereby building them into model bodies that the CPC Central Committee can trust and that the people are satisfied with.
We improved and intensified our work on media and public communications by enhancing reporting on the full legislative and oversight processes, putting the diligence of our deputies on display, and publicizing the innovative work of local people’s congresses, thus boosting awareness of China’s fundamental political system among the public. We created new means of publicity by accelerating efforts to revamp the NPC’s magazine and website, and promoted integrated development of our publicity efforts through publications, websites, microblogs, WeChat, and news applications. We established a spokesperson mechanism for the NPC’s Foreign Affairs Committee so that we can promptly clarify our stance on major issues involving China’s core interests. In addition, another spokesperson mechanism was established for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee in order to respond to public concerns on legal issues.
We held a symposium to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of standing committees for local people’s congresses at and above the county level, a conference for provincial people’s congresses to share their experience in legislative work, and the 25th national forum on local legislation. In all of these efforts, we thoroughly studied and implemented General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions, maintained closer working relations with local people’s congresses, and exchanged experiences drawn from our work with people’s congresses at different levels, thus forming synergy for effectively performing the work of people’s congresses in the new era.
The achievements made by the Standing Committee came under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. They were the result of the diligent and hard work of all NPC deputies, members of the NPC Standing Committee and special committees, and the staff of the administrative bodies of the NPC; of the close coordination and cooperation of the State Council, the National Commission of Supervision, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and local people’s congresses at all levels and their standing committees; and of the full trust and great support of the Chinese people. On behalf of the Standing Committee, I would like to express our sincere gratitude.
However, there were also certain shortcomings in the work of the Standing Committee. These mainly include the following: we didn’t sufficiently exercise our leading role in legislation, and the quality of legislation needs to be further enhanced; our oversight mechanisms and approaches need to be refined, and the effectiveness of oversight needs to be improved; our work to serve deputies in order to aid them in the performance of their duties needs to be enhanced, and measures and mechanisms in this regard need to be implemented more thoroughly and effectively; and the NPC’s organizational systems and procedural rules need to be further refined, and the administrative bodies of the NPC need to work more efficiently. The Standing Committee will seek comments and suggestions from deputies and all sectors of society with an open mind, and make constant efforts to improve our work in all respects.
The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee has systematically summarized the tremendous achievements and marked strengths of China’s state system and national governance system, and laid out top-level designs and comprehensive plans for upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era and advancing the modernization of China’s governance system and capacity for governance. The people’s congress system is an important component of the Chinese socialist system, and the fundamental political system that serves as the pillar of our national governance system and capacity. As our nation has rapidly developed and evolved in the seven decades since the founding of the PRC, the Chinese people have built a clearer understanding of the fact that the people’s congress system is a vital system that boasts enormous advantages. We must remain committed to upholding and improving the people’s congress system, and constantly enrich its practical nature and contemporary relevance. By doing so, we can translate our institutional strengths into effective national governance, and use the people’s congress system to ensure that our nation’s destiny remains firmly in the hands of our people.
Main Tasks for the Coming Months
In 2020, our Party will lead the people in fulfilling the first centenary goal. Facing a challenging and complex international environment as well as formidable tasks for advancing domestic reform and development and ensuring stability, the NPC must come to terms with numerous new developments and demands in its work. The Standing Committee must hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and fully implement the guiding principles of the Party’s 19th National Congress and the second, third, and fourth plenary sessions of its 19th Central Committee. We must boost our awareness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership. We must strengthen our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must resolutely uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position on the Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and resolutely uphold the Central Committee’s authority and centralized, unified leadership. We must uphold the unity between the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and law-based governance. We must focus our work on modernizing China’s governance system and capacity for governance, on coordinating efforts to implement the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy, and on securing decisive success in our efforts to win the fight against poverty and build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We must support the coordinated advancement of epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, remain committed to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, carry out our duties and functions in accordance with the law, and strive to make new progress in our work.
Since the start of this year, all work of the Standing Committee has proceeded in an orderly fashion in accordance with the Central Committee’s overall plans. In the coming months, we will focus our efforts on the following main tasks:
First, ensuring full enforcement of the Constitution. We will see that procedures and mechanisms for interpreting the Constitution are well implemented, and make progress in constitutional compliance inspection. We will build up our system and capacity for recording and reviewing normative documents, rigorously implement the Measures for Recording and Review of Regulations and Judicial Interpretations, enhance the functions of the national digital platform for recording and reviewing these documents, and take greater initiative to conduct general reviews and targeted reviews. We will promote public awareness of the Constitution, and organize pledges of allegiance to the Constitution and activities for National Constitution Day. Remaining committed to upholding law-based governance in Hong Kong and Macao, we will work to safeguard constitutional order in the two special administrative regions as stipulated in China’s Constitution and the basic laws, refine the system for interpreting the basic laws by the NPC Standing Committee, establish a sound legal system and effective enforcement mechanisms at the national level for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and accelerate related legislative initiatives. We will maintain our principles and policies on work related to Taiwan, uphold the one-China principle, resolutely oppose and restrict separatist forces seeking “Taiwan Independence,” and promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations on the basis of the 1992 Consensus.
Second, strengthening legislative work in key areas. Facing extremely onerous tasks on the legislative agenda this year, we must balance quality and efficiency, give better play to the leading role of people’s congresses in legislation, endeavor to make our legislation more thoughtfully designed and precisely targeted, and follow through with every piece of legislation put forward. To promote high-quality development, we will formulate the Yangtze River Conservation Law, the Law on Promoting Rural Vitalization, the Futures Law, and the Hainan Free Trade Port Law, and revise the Patent Law. To improve systems for ensuring people’s wellbeing, we will prioritize legislation on public health. We will revise the Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention, the Wildlife Protection Law, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law, the Emergency Response Law, and the Vocational Education Law, and formulate the Social Assistance Law and the Law on Support for Veterans. In the realms of national security and social governance, we will formulate the Bio-Security Law, the Law on Protection of Personal Information, and the Data Security Law, pass Amendment XI to the Criminal Law, and revise the Administrative Penalty Law, the Law on Administrative Review, the Public Security Management Penalty Law, and the Law on the People’s Armed Police Force. To accelerate the creation of a system of laws for extraterritorial application, we will formulate the Export Control Law and revise the Anti-Money Laundering Law, the Law on the People’s Bank of China, the Law on Commercial Banks, and the Insurance Law. To improve the system of institutions through which the people exercise their role as masters of the country, we will revise the Organic Law of the NPC, the NPC’s procedural rules, the Electoral Law, and the National Flag Law. We will work to effectively publicize and enforce the Civil Code. In response to the need to deepen reforms on all fronts, we will ensure that legislative work relating to decisions regarding authorizations and reforms is well executed. All in all, we will endeavor to accomplish the major legislative tasks set by the CPC Central Committee and those with a bearing on overall economic and social development.
Third, exercising oversight in accordance with the law. We will improve oversight systems and mechanisms to ensure full implementation of the CPC Central Committee’s decisions and plans and effective enforcement of the Constitution and the law. We have put 29 oversight tasks on our agenda centered on major Party and state work plans. Focusing on issues including building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, making progress in the three critical battles against poverty, pollution, and potential risk, taking effective steps to stabilize employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations, and implementing tasks to maintain job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of county-level governments, we will hear and deliberate 16 work reports on topics such as implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy, and further intensify the review and oversight of government budgets and final accounts and the oversight over the management of state-owned assets. We will review the decisions made by the Standing Committee and the enforcement of six laws, including the Wildlife Protection Law, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, the Charity Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, the Law on Guaranteeing Public Cultural Services, and the Law on Promoting Agricultural Mechanization. We will conduct special inquiries on prevention and control of soil pollution and the rectification of prominent problems discovered through audit, and launch five research projects on issues including compilation of the 14th Five-Year Plan, activities to foster ethnic unity and progress, and reform of the social insurance system. Our decisive success this year in winning the fight against poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will go down in the history of the Chinese nation and the history of all humanity. The Standing Committee must focus its oversight work on these grand strategies, and contribute to completing the first centenary goal on schedule.
Fourth, supporting deputies in performing their duties in accordance with the law. We will improve systems for maintaining contact with deputies, implement specific measures for strengthening and improving work related to NPC deputies, and maintain good communication between the Standing Committee and deputies and between deputies and the public. We will help deputies pursue self-improvement, enhance their theoretical competence, and foster political integrity, so that they can better perform their duties. We will do a better job at receiving, handling and giving feedback on proposals and suggestions put forward by deputies, implement mechanisms for responding to and resolving the issues raised in their suggestions, and tighten follow-up oversight. We will expand and improve deputies’ participation in the work of the Standing Committee, special committees, and working bodies of the NPC Standing Committee, earnestly solicit their input, and act on their advice when appropriate. We will coordinate inspection and research activities for deputies, and provide them with more targeted and effective study and training programs. We will also move faster to establish digital platforms for deputies to perform their duties.
Fifth, actively carrying out work on international exchanges. We will leverage our unique strengths with regard to foreign exchanges, and serve the overall diplomatic work of the Party and the state. We will enhance high-level exchanges, and let NPC special committees, bilateral friendship groups, and working bodies of the Standing Committee play an active role in international exchanges. We will also steadily advance mechanism-based exchanges, actively participate in multilateral cooperation between parliamentary bodies, and strengthen exchanges on legislation in the public health sector, thereby growing China’s relationships with other countries and boosting pragmatic cooperation across all fields.
Sixth, enhancing self-improvement of the Standing Committee. We will consolidate and further the outcomes of the educational campaign on the theme of staying true to the Party’s founding mission, and thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We will earnestly execute the CPC Central Committee’s eight-point decision on conduct and the detailed rules for its implementation, improve our conduct in our work, maintain close ties with the people, and carry out in-depth research. We will refine our deliberation procedures and working mechanisms. We will step up theoretical research on the people’s congress system, and perform better on press-related work and public communications. We will give full play to the role of the special committees of the NPC, and take solid steps to develop its administrative bodies. In the interest of implementing the CPC Central Committee’s major policies, decisions, and plans, we will strengthen contact with local people’s congresses and enhance the effectiveness of our work overall.
We are now at the cusp of achieving the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, with the bright prospect of national rejuvenation spurring us forward. Let us rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, unite and forge ahead with great determination, make diligent efforts to live up to the great trust that has been placed in us, and work hard to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, modernize China’s governance system and capacity for governance, achieve the two Centenary Goals, and realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation!