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Opinion

Uphold the people’s congress system

• Practice the whole-process people’s democracy
Published July 31, 2022
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(—Seventh part of the “China in the past decade” series)

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has carried out theoretical and practical innovations in the people’s congress system from the strategic perspective of adhering to and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, developed General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important thoughts on upholding and improving the people’s congress system, and guided the people’s congresses on different levels to make historic achievements in their work.

First, China has taken the enforcement of the Constitution to a new level. In 2018, the NPC (National People’s Congress) of China adopted the fifth amendment to the Constitution, consolidating the legal basis and gathering a mighty force for realizing national rejuvenation.

We have boosted the implementation of the Constitution and oversight of constitutional compliance by enacting a national supervision law, a law protecting the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs, the National Anthem Law, and amending the National Flag Law and other laws related to the Constitution, and implementing the systems for granting medals, awards and amnesty stipulated in the Constitution.

We have set up the Constitution and Law Committee. We have promoted constitutionality review in an orderly manner and improved the legislative recording and review system and capability building. We have established a system of pledging allegiance to the Constitution by adopting a related legal document and introduced the national Constitution Day.

We have upheld the constitutional order of the special administrative region as prescribed by the Constitution and the Basic Law, promulgated the national security law in Hong Kong, and adopted more than 10 decisions on issues such as improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, thus providing a firmer assurance for the sound and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems.”

Economy, ecology: giant step forward

Second, China has optimized the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, faced with heavy legislation tasks, the NPC and its Standing Committee have enacted high-quality laws covering a wide range of areas at a fast pace. We have enacted 69 laws, amended 237 laws, adopted 99 decisions on legal and major issues, and provided nine legal interpretations.

So far, there are 292 laws in force. We have formulated and amended more than 20 laws, including the National Security Law and the Law on Countering Foreign Sanctions, basically forming a legal system for national security.

We have formulated and amended more than 20 laws, including those on Yangtze River protection, black soil protection, and forest, preliminarily forming an Eco-environmental legal system.

We have formulated the Foreign Investment Law and the Hainan Free Trade Port Law, and amended the Land Administration Law and the Anti-monopoly Law, acknowledging and consolidating reform achievements by means of lawmaking. We have formulated the Civil Code.

We have made approximately 30 authorization and reform decisions, pushing forward lawmaking in a well-conceived and democratic way and in accordance with the law, and better leveraging the leading role of people’s congresses in legislation.

Third, China has exercised oversight in a correct, effective, and law-based manner. The NPC’s oversight focuses on the major decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the most pressing difficulties and problems that are of great concern to the people, and helps resolve prominent contradictions and problems constraining economic and social development. That is an outstanding feature of the oversight.

Over the past decade, with its oversight function expanded and work streams improved, people’s congresses have been able to conduct more effective oversight. The Standing Committee of the NPC has listened to and deliberated more than 150 reports on oversight, inspected the implementation of more than 50 laws, and conducted 25 inquiries and 45 surveys on specific subjects, effectively facilitating economic and social development and tackling key tasks of reform.

Fourth, the role of deputies to people’s congresses has been better leveraged. We have introduced 35 specific measures to strengthen and improve the work related to NPC deputies, improving institutions and standards of the work and the work as a regular practice.

We have conscientiously handled deputies’ proposals, drawn closer the bonds between standing committees and deputies and between deputies and the people, and engaged deputies more in the work of standing committees and special committees. We have established and put into operation an information platform for the work of NPC deputies.

On the whole the people’s congress system is an important way for China to practice whole-process people’s democracy, embodying the profound thinking of CPC on the people’s congress system, socialist democracy and the rule of law.

Whole-process people’s democracy is socialist, involves all the Chinese people, and features “whole process” as an advantage. It has complete procedures and practices, ensuring the democratic election, consultation, decision-making, management, and oversight of the people according to law. It is a model of socialist democracy that covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society. It is a true democracy that works.

Although the people’s congress system has incomparable advantages, it still embraces changes. It has been continuously developed and improved in practice, showing that the system has been moving forward and advancing with the times.

The organizational systems and work mechanisms have been improved to make them more dynamic and better suit the characteristics of organs of state power, which is an essential epitome of advancing with the times of the system of people’s congresses and which will make the China people’s congress system become more mature and well-defined.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

Li Bijian

The writer is Consul General of China in Karachi

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