Press conference on progress and achievements in upholding and improving the people's congress system in the new era

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To improve platforms and approaches through which the people can express their opinions is the requirement set by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the central conference on work related to the people's congresses. What measures have been taken by the NPC Standing Committee in recent years to provide better channels for the people to express their opinions and demands? Thank you.

Song Rui:

The more extensive the practice of the people's democratic participation and the fuller the expression of the people's wishes, the more tangible the realization of the idea of the people being masters of the country and the more vigorous the whole-process people's democracy will be. Over the years, the NPC and its Standing Committee have upheld the principle of serving and relying on the people. They have done a lot of work in improving the democratic platforms and vehicles where the general public can express opinions and refining the working mechanisms for soliciting public comments and collecting ideas from the people. I will introduce the main work as follows:

First, the mechanisms for regularly soliciting public opinion for drafting laws and giving public feedback have been improved. The law drafts for the first and second deliberations of the NPC Standing Committee will be promptly made available to the public to solicit opinion. Over the past decade, public opinion has been solicited on 217 draft laws, receiving more than 3.8 million comments and suggestions from over 1.2 million people. Soliciting public opinion has become an important way for the people to participate in the national legislation directly.

Second, the establishment of the grass-roots legislation contact point has been steadily promoted. The Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee has established 22 grass-roots legislation contact points covering two-thirds of the provinces in China. It has led people's congresses of provinces and cities having subsidiary districts to establish over 5,500 grass-roots contact points. The Budgetary Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee has also set up grass-roots budget review contact points. These grass-roots contact points have effectively served as a "through train" which can take the public opinion directly to the top legislature, ensuring that the work of the people's congresses would better engage with the people, observe public sentiment, gather the people's ideas, and benefit people's lives.

Third, the role as the platform for handling public complaints has been leveraged. The NPC Standing Committee has built and made good use of the NPC's petition window, which provides a reception place to listen to the opinions of the people face-to-face and receive letters and visits of the people. Since 2020, the online petition platform of the NPC administrative bodies has been established, promoting the practice of the mass line through the internet. The current NPC Standing Committee has handled 381,800 public complaints, over 40,000 of which have been submitted through the online petition platform. Furthermore, 780 letters from the people's congress deputies have been handed over to local people's congresses or transmitted to other organs to handle. Issues that concern the people most in their letters and visits have been resolved and responded to in the relevant legislative and oversight work.

Fourth, the NPC Standing Committee has established the information platform for recording and reviewing normative documents, a national database for laws and regulations, and an information platform for the work of people's congress deputies. These platforms and vehicles have made it possible for the opinions and suggestions from the people and all sectors of society to be heard. In addition to these essential platforms and vehicles, in practice, the NPC Standing Committee has also established and refined a series of working mechanisms for soliciting public opinions and collecting ideas from the people, including investigations, workshops, seminars, hearings, questionnaires, and other forms, to widely and deeply heed the aspirations and voices of the people and improve the quality of the NPC's work through various channels and in multiple means. At the local level, people's congresses have generally set up "Deputies' Homes" and deputy contact stations, which have become an important platform for people's congress deputies to listen to the opinions of the people and perform their duties. That is the most important manifestation of the democratic platforms and vehicles of people's congresses through which the general public can express opinions at the local level. Currently, there are over 220,000 deputies' homes (stations) nationwide, which have become fixed, convenient, and effective service platforms for deputies to contact the people, strengthen learning and carry out their duties. Thank you.

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