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Bills Call for Improvement of Farmers' Lot
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The ongoing First Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) had received 1,050 bills by its Monday deadline, the session's bills division announced Tuesday in Beijing.

The bills were submitted either by delegations or joint endorsements of more than 30 lawmakers.

Of this year's submissions, more than four-fifths call for laws to be drafted or revised, according to Peng Yibing, director of the office under the bills division.

The hot topics at present are agriculture, rural development and farmers' living standards, Peng said.

Peng noted that deputies are interested in how to increase the income of farmers, the quality of agricultural products, the industrialization of agriculture and primary education in the countryside.

Meanwhile, many bills call for guarantees of the rights of laid-off workers, migrant laborers and women, as well as safeguards for the national economy and social security system.

According to the NPC, this is the third year in a row that more than 1,000 bills were tabled at its annual session. Last year's NPC session, the fifth session of the ninth NPC, received a total of 1,194 bills.

"The overall quality of this year's submissions is higher than that of last year, although there is a decrease in the number,'' said Li Bojun, vice-director of the office under the bills division.

"Deputies to the 10th NPC are younger, better-educated and with stronger professional backgrounds than those of the ninth NPC,'' Li said, noting that many deputies had expertly investigated issues before raising bills.

The 1,050 recommendations will be submitted to the presidium of the session on Friday for discussion on whether to hand them over to specialized committees of the Standing Committee of the NPC.

Of last year's total, 285 bills were handed over to the Standing Committee to deal with.

"Those submissions which do not pass the approval process are either outside the committee's terms of reference or not appropriate for legislation,'' Li explained.

Li also said some bills are not well-written, and therefore not accepted by the NPC.

(China Daily March 12, 2003)

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