Full Text: Work report of NPC Standing Committee

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Following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which was delivered by Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the NPC Standing Committee on March 8, 2017 for deliberation at the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress and adopted on March 15, 2017:


Delivered at the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress on March 8, 2017

Zhang Dejiang

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress

Fellow Deputies,

On behalf of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), I will now present to you the report on the work of the Standing Committee for your deliberation.

Major Initiatives of the Past Year

Over the past year, under the firm leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the NPC Standing Committee has comprehensively implemented the guidelines from the 18th National Party Congress and those of the third through sixth plenary sessions of the 18th Party Central Committee; followed the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development; and carefully studied and put into practice the principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping's major addresses and his new vision, thinking, and strategies for the governance of China. We have upheld our commitment to integrating leadership by the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and law-based governance, and have exercised the functions and powers granted to us by the Constitution and other laws and worked hard in our role as the country's highest organ of state power, focusing closely on the overall plan for balanced economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, on the coordinated advancement of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy,(1) and on the implementation of the new development philosophy.

Upholding leadership by the Party is the foundation and lifeblood of both the Party and the country and affects the interests and wellbeing of all the people of China. At its Sixth Plenary Session, the 18th Party Central Committee formally affirmed that General Secretary Xi Jinping is at the core of the Central Committee and of the entire Party, reflecting the will of all members of the Party, all members of the armed forces, and all the people of China. We have built a keen awareness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment; closely followed the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core in terms of thinking, political stand, and action; upheld the centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee and resolutely safeguarded its authority; and worked to see that the line, principles, and policies of the Party as well as the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee are carried out in the NPC's work.

Since the Fourth Session of the 12th NPC, the Standing Committee has enacted 8 laws, revised 27 laws, passed 7 decisions or resolutions on legal issues, issued 1 legal interpretation, and resolved to present the draft of 1 law and 3 draft decisions on legal issues to this session of the NPC for deliberation. Our legislative work has continued to be characterized by the great number, importance, and pace of activities, and we have further improved the quality of the NPC's legislative work.

We inspected compliance with 6 laws; heard and deliberated 20 work reports from the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; passed 2 resolutions; and conducted 3 special inquiries and 5 research projects. Through these activities, we have achieved continuous progress in the NPC's oversight work, making it more targeted and effective.

We deliberated and approved 8 reports from the NPC's special committees regarding their examination of deputies' proposals, as well as 7 reports from the Credentials Committee pertaining to its review of certain deputies' qualifications. We ratified 3 treaties and agreements concluded between China and foreign countries as well as China's accession to 4 international conventions, and made decisions on or gave approval to the appointment or removal of a number of officials of state bodies. New advances and achievements have been made in every area of the NPC's work.

1. We worked hard to advance legislation in key areas and improve the quality of legislation.

Effective legislation is a prerequisite and foundation for China's law-based governance. Continuing to make legislation our top priority, we focused on major legislative items important to China's reform, development, and stability, gave great attention to the key task of raising the quality of our legislation, and enacted a number of important laws.

1) Major progress was made in developing the system of national security laws.

National security is the foundation of a stable country. Putting into effect the integrative national security concept and giving central consideration to China's conditions and realities, we maintained our political resolve, acted when the time was right for legislation, and worked faster to develop the system of laws related to national security. Following the enactment of the Counter-Espionage Law in 2014 and the National Security Law and the Anti-Terrorism Law in 2015, last year we deliberated and passed the Law on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China, the Cybersecurity Law, and the Law on National Defense Transportation, and deliberated the drafts of an intelligence law and a nuclear safety law.

The Law on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China brings the administration of activities of overseas NGOs in the mainland of China into line with the rule of law. It will help to protect their legitimate rights and interests and promote exchange and cooperation, while also helping to strengthen China's law-based oversight and regulation and safeguard China's national security and public interests.

The Cybersecurity Law is a fundamental law in the field of cyber security. The law establishes basic regulatory systems for all areas of cyber security that ensure the effective utilization, sound development, law-based regulation, and improved security of cyberspace and establish the right balance between freedom and order, security and development, and national governance and international cooperation.

The Law on National Defense Transportation is the first piece of legislation pertaining to national defense deliberated and adopted by this Standing Committee. The purpose of this law is to facilitate closer military-civilian integration in the field of transportation and improve the capabilities of national defense transportation to serve in times of peace, respond to emergencies, and meet challenges in times of war, thus better serving the country's overall strategy for national security and development.

2) Steady progress was made in developing the General Provisions of Civil Law.

The development of a civil code was an important legislative task proposed at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Party Central Committee, and is a move of enormous importance for fully advancing China's law-based governance and improving the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the NPC worked on developing civil law in 1954, 1962, 1979, and 2001, but for a number of reasons efforts in 1954 and 1962 failed to produce real results. The work in 1979 and 2001, through careful consideration, led to the adoption of an incremental approach, whereby individual civil laws were to be formulated first and the civil code was to be developed later when the conditions were right to do so. To meet the needs of promoting reform and opening up and developing the socialist market economy, China formulated the General Principles of Civil Law, and introduced a series of civil laws such as the Inheritance Law, the Adoption Law, the Guarantee Law, the Contract Law, the Property Law, and the Tort Law. Now the conditions are all in place for compiling a civil code. The Standing Committee has decided to adopt a two-step approach to develop the civil code: first, developing the general part of the civil code, or the General Provisions of Civil Law; and second, following the enactment of the General Provisions of Civil Law, compiling the individual books of the civil code, striving to form a complete civil code by 2020.

The General Provisions of Civil Law lays out the basic principles and general rules of civil law, and is the leading part of the civil code. The Standing Committee has worked with a strong sense of responsibility and mission to do its utmost to formulate the General Provisions of Civil Law, carrying out three readings to deliberate the draft legislation, and making three open requests for public comments through the NPC's website (www.npc.gov.cn). After careful deliberation and repeated revisions, we have decided to submit the draft of the General Provisions of Civil Law to this session for deliberation. We believe that with the concerted efforts of all deputies, we will be able to make this a piece of legislation that stands the test of time and meets the expectations of the people, and that is characteristically Chinese, thus laying a solid foundation for the civil code.

Note: (1) This refers to making comprehensive moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance the law-based governance of China, and strengthen Party self-governance.

3) Legislation concerning cultural, social, environmental, and other issues was strengthened.

Seeing that China's legislative work in the cultural sector was lagging behind, last year we strengthened the system of laws on culture by deliberating and passing two important laws related to this sector. The Law on Guaranteeing Public Cultural Services clarifies the duties and responsibilities of the government in the provision of public cultural services, and establishes basic principles and mechanisms for guaranteeing provision. The Film Industry Promotion Law regulates the scripting, filming, release, and showing of films and provides greater support and security for the film industry. These two laws will play a significant role in safeguarding the people's basic cultural rights and interests, enriching their intellectual and cultural life, and promoting core socialist values.

Traditional Chinese medicine is a national treasure. The Law on Traditional Chinese Medicine passed after deliberation by the Standing Committee clearly stipulates: traditional Chinese medicine is the general designation for the traditional medicine of the Han and of ethnic minorities of China. The state shall work hard to develop traditional Chinese medicine, follow the principle of attaching equal importance to traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, and put in place a regulatory system suitable to the unique features of traditional Chinese medicine, thereby giving full play to its role in China's health care services.

In keeping with the decisions on reform made by the Party Central Committee related to replacing environmental protection fees with a tax and ensuring law-based taxation, we deliberated and passed the Environmental Protection Tax Law. This is the first tax law deliberated and approved by this Standing Committee; it is of great importance in giving full play to the role of taxation in helping to control and reduce emissions and protect and improve ecosystems and the environment.

We also enacted the Asset Appraisal Law and revised laws including the Law on the Promotion of Privately-Run Schools, the Wildlife Protection Law, the Marine Environment Protection Law, the Law on the Red Cross Society, and the Law on Corporate Income Tax.

4) Legislative mechanisms and methods were refined.

First, we published the guidelines on establishing sound systems under which special committees of the NPC and working bodies of the NPC Standing Committee organize the drafting of important laws. Of all the legislative items deliberated by the Standing Committee this past year, the drafting for 10 items was led by relevant special committees of the NPC and working bodies of the Standing Committee.

Second, we improved the mechanisms for soliciting the opinions of deputies on the drafts of laws and invited them to participate in the research, debate, deliberation, and assessment process so as to ensure their comments and suggestions can be effectively heard and adopted. These efforts have enabled deputies to play a bigger role in the NPC's legislative work.

Third, we formulated the Procedures for Collecting and Discussing Legislative Items, making progress in efforts to better standardize and institutionalize legislative work.

Fourth, we improved the system for staying connected with local communities on legislative matters, and on eight occasions organized activities to solicit comments on seven draft laws from the general public and officials at the community level. This ensured that legislative work was carried out in close connection with the people and was better able to reflect public sentiment.

We held a national symposium on local legislation to guide local legislative work, especially the legislative work of cities with subsidiary districts. Of the 273 cities and autonomous prefectures newly granted local legislative powers by the revised Legislation Law, 269 have, with approval from provincial-level people's congresses, already begun to formulate local regulations.

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