National People's Congress
People's Republic of China practices the system of
people's congress. China's Constitution stipulates
that all power in the People's Republic of China belongs
to the people, and the organs through which the people
exercise state power are the National People's Congress
and the local people's congresses at different levels.
Local people's congresses at different levels are
elected in a democratic way, and are responsible to
the people and subject to supervision by the people.
Deputies to the people's congresses at county and
township levels are elected directly by their constituents.
All citizens of the People's Republic of China who
have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote
and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status,
race, sex, occupation, family background, religious
belief, education, property status or length of residence.
Such citizens make up 99.97 percent of the population
who are 18 years of age or over. Over the past dozen
years, more than 90 percent of the electorates participated
in the four direct elections of deputies to the people's
congresses at county and township levels. Deputies
to the people's congresses of the provinces, autonomous
regions, municipalities directly under the Central
Government, autonomous prefectures and cities divided
into districts are elected by the people's congresses
at the next lower level. Deputies to the NPC are elected
by the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities
directly under the Central Government, and by the
armed forces. Candidates for deputies to the people's
congress at various levels are nominated on the basis
of electoral districts or electoral units. The political
parties and various people's organizations may either
jointly or separately recommend candidates for deputies.
Any voter or deputy may, with at least 10 people supporting
his proposal, also recommend a candidate. The number
of candidates for deputies shall be greater than the
number of deputies to be elected. The elections shall
be by secret ballot.
is the highest organ of state power. It exercises
the state power of amending the Constitution and
supervising the enforcement of the Constitution;
enacts basic laws of the state; elects and decides
on the choices of the leading personnel of the highest
state organs of China, including the President and
Vice President, the choice of the Premier of the
State Council and other component members of the
State Council; elects the Chairman of the Central
Military Commission and decide on the choice of
other component members of the Central Military
Commission; elects the President of the Supreme
People's Court and the Procurator-General of the
Supreme People's Procuratorate; examines and approves
the plan for national economic and social development
and the report on its implementation; examines and
approves the state budget and the report on its
implementation; and make decisions on other important
issues in national life. The NPC is elected for
a term of five years. It meets in session during
the first quarter each year and is convened by the
NPC Standing Committee.
Allocation of the Number of Deputies
The number of delegates to the National People's
Congress shall be decided in accordance with the
proportion of the population in each province, autonomous
region and municipality directly under the Central
Government. No less than 15 delegates shall be allocated
to a province or an autonomous region with a small
population. At the same time, the allocation should
make sure that there is appropriate representation
of all ethnic groups, people from all walks of life
and all political parties within the NPC.
Rights and Duties of NPC Deputies
The National People's Congress is comprised of deputies
who exercise the highest state power. According
to the Constitution and the Organic Law of the National's
People's Congress, NPC deputies are elected for
a term of five years. The term of a deputy chosen
through by-elections dates from the date of the
vote until the expiration of the current NPC.
In accordance with the Constitution and the Organic
Law of the National's People's Congress, the NPC
deputies enjoy the following rights and duties:
1. Putting forward bills, suggestions and criticisms;
2. Putting forward proposals regarding the dismissal
of government officials;
3. Having power to address and make inquiries;
4. Not being held liable for their speeches and
votes at various NPC meetings;
5. Exemption from arrest or criminal trial without
authorization, whether or not the NPC is in session;
6. The right to inspect the topics for discussion
at the NPC session and related contents; and
7. The state and society provides NPC deputies with
necessary guarantees when they are attending the
NPC sessions and performing their duties as deputies.
NPC deputies should fulfill following duties:
1. To abide by the Constitution and laws in an exemplary
way, exercise their powers in an earnest way, guard
state secrets and help facilitate the enforcement
of the Constitution and laws in the production,
work and other social activities in which they take
2. To keep in close touch with their constituency
and the public, listening to and giving expression
to the opinions and requirements of the people and
work hard to serve the people.
NPC Standing Committee
The permanent organ of the National People's Congress
is its Standing Committee, which is responsible
to the National People's Congress. It functions
as the highest body of state power and accepts supervision
by the National People's Congress when it is not
The NPC Standing Committee is composed of the Chairman,
Vice-Chairmen, the Secretary-General and other members
who are elected from among the deputies at the first
session of every National People's Congress. The
members of the NPC Standing Committee generally
include: (a) representatives from the Communist
Party of China;
(b) representatives from various democratic parties
and patriots and democrats without party affiliation;
(c) representatives of people's organizations; (d)
representatives of the People's Liberation Army;
and (e) representatives of minority ethnic groups
with a population of over 1 million each.
The NPC Standing Committee serves the same term
as the National People's Congress, five years from
its election at the first session of every National
People's Congress to the birth of a new Standing
Committee at the first session of the next National
People's Congress. The chairmanship and vice-chairmanship
of the NPC Standing Committee cannot go beyond two
successive terms. Nobody on the NPC Standing Committee
is permitted to hold any post in any of the administrative,
judicial or procuratorial organs of the state. Any
member who holds any post in any of the aforesaid
state organs must resign from the NPC Standing Committee.
The Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee presides
over the work of the Standing Committee. The Vice-Chairmen
and the Secretary-General assist the Chairman. Executive
meetings with the participation of the Chairman,
Vice-Chairmen and Secretary-General handle the important
day-to-day work of the Standing Committee. Under
normal circumstances, the NPC Standing Committee
meets every two months, but extraordinary meetings
can be convened as required.
The Chairmen of all previous NPC Standing Committees
were: Liu Xiaoqi, Zhu De, Ye Jianying, Peng Zhen,
Wan Li and Qiao Shi. Li Peng is chairman of current
NPC Standing Committee.
According to the Constitution and the Organic Law
of the National People's Congress, the NPC Standing
Committee exercises the following functions and
1. Legislative right. In accordance with the provisions
of the Constitution, the National People's Congress
and its Standing Committee jointly exercise the
legislative right, including enacting and amending
statutes, with the exception of those which should
be enacted by the National People's Congress; enacting
supplements and amendments to statutes enacted by
the National People's Congress when it is not in
session, as long as these do not go against the
basic principles of the statutes. Consequently,
except for the Constitution and basic laws, The
NPC Standing Committee undertakes a large amount
of legislative work.
2. Right to interpret the Constitution and laws.
Interpretation of the Constitution means to provide
a legislative explanation of the articles and provisions
that require further definition, and supplements,
so as to correctly deal with any problems arising
during the execution of the Constitution and laws
to guarantee their correct implementation.
3. Right to supervise the enforcement of the Constitution.
The Constitution now in force gives the supervisory
right also to the NPC Standing Committee in addition
to the National People's Congress. As a permanent
body of NPC, this ensures it can carry out regular
supervision of the enforcement of the Constitution.
4. Right to supervise the work of other state organs.
The NPC Standing Committee supervises the work of
the State Council, Central Military Commission,
Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate;
annulling those administrative rules and regulations,
decisions or orders of the State Council that contravene
the Constitution or the statutes of the state; and
annulling those local regulations or decisions of
the organs of state power of provinces, autonomous
regions and municipalities directly under the central
government that contravene the Constitution, statutes,
or administrative rules and regulations of the state.
5. Power of appointment and removal. When the National
People's Congress is not in session, the NPC Standing
Committee decides on the choice of ministers in
charge of ministries or commissions or the auditor-general
and the secretary-general of the State Council according
to the nomination by the premier of the State Council;
selects the vice-chairmen of the Central Military
Commission and members of the commission according
to the nomination of the chairmen of the Central
Military Commission; appoints and removes vice-presidents
and judges of the Supreme People's Court (SPC),
members of SPC's Judicial Committee and the president
of the Military Court according to the motion from
the president of SPC; appoints and removes deputy
procurators-general and procurators of the Supreme
People's Procuratorate (SPP), members of SPP's Procuratorial
Committee and the chief procurator of the Military
Procuratorate according to the motion from the president
of SPP, and approves the appointment and removal
of chief procurators of the people's procuratorates
of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities
directly under the central government; and decides
on the appointment and recall of plenipotentiary
6. Right of decision concerning major issues in
state affairs. This includes: deciding on the ratification
and abrogation of treaties and important agreements
concluded with foreign countries; instituting systems
of titles and ranks for military and diplomatic
personnel and of other specific titles and ranks;
instituting state medals and titles of honor and
deciding on their conferment; deciding on the granting
of special pardons; deciding on the proclamation
of a state of war when the state faces armed encroachment
or must fulfill an international treaty against
aggression whilst the NPC is not in session; deciding
on general mobilization or partial mobilization;
deciding on the enforcement of martial law throughout
the country or in particular provinces, autonomous
regions, or municipalities directly under the central
government; and examining and approving partial
adjustments to the plan for national economic and
social development and to the state budget that
prove necessary in the course of their implementation
when the NPC is not in session.
Other functions and powers as the National People's
Congress may assign to it. In addition to all these,
the NPC Standing Committee is empowered by the NPC
to chair the election of NPC deputies, convene NPC
sessions, keep in touch with NPC deputies and organize
them to make inspection, and lead the work of NPC
special committees when the National People's Congress
is not in session.
The National People's Congress establishes the Ethnic
Affairs Committee, Law Committee, Committee for
Internal and Judicial Affairs, Financial and Economic
Committee, Education, Science, Culture and Health
Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Overseas Chinese
Affairs Committee, Environment and Resources Protection
Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
These special committees, under the direction of
the National People's Congress and its Standing
Committee, examine, discuss and draw up relevant
bills and undertake the routine legislative and
1). Proposal of bills. According to Chinese
law, the NPC Presidium, Standing Committee and various
special committees as well the State Council, the
Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's
Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate may
submit bills to the National People's Congress.
Such bills are put on the agenda of the NPC session
by the Presidium. A group or delegates, with at
least 30 of them in a joint letter, may also present
bills to the National People's Congress. The Presidium
will decide whether to put such presented bills
on the agenda or hand them over to relevant special
committees for discussion and conclusion before
making the decision. If the bills are presented
to the NPC Standing Committee by the Chairmen's
meeting, various NPC special committees, the State
Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme
People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate,
the Chairmen's meeting will submit them to the Standing
Committee's meeting for deliberation. Or the Chairmen's
meeting will first hand them over to relevant special
committees for discussion and issuing a report before
deciding to submit them to the Standing Committee's
meeting for deliberation. The members of the Standing
Committee, if at least 10 of them sign a joint letter,
may also present bills to the NPC Standing Committee.
The Chairmen's meeting will decide whether to submit
such presented bills to the Standing Committee's
meeting for deliberation or hand them over to related
special committees for discussion and issuing a
report before making the decision. If the Chairmen's
meeting decides not to submit them to the Standing
Committee for deliberation, it should report to
the Standing Committee's meeting or furnish an explanation
to the bill's presenters.
2) Deliberation of bills. Where a bill is
put on the NPC session's agenda for deliberation,
the proposer should first make a presentation about
the bill at the plenary session. Then the bill is
discussed and deliberated at the plenary and group
meetings of each delegation, and meanwhile it is
discussed and deliberated by the Law Committee and
other related special committees. The Law Committee
will have a final discussion of the bill in the
light of the considerations and proposals from various
delegations and related special committees and submit
a report on the results of the discussions and the
revised version of the draft law to the Presidium.
The Presidium will print it, distribute it among
the delegates and submit the revised bill to the
NPC session for voting. A bill, which has been put
on the agenda of the NPC Standing Committee's meeting,
is subject to at least two rounds of deliberation.
The first Standing Committee meeting hears the presentation
about the bill and, after preliminary discussion,
hands it over to the Law Committee and the relevant
special committee for deliberation. The Law Committee
presents to the next or future Standing Committee's
meeting the report on the results of the deliberation,
which will finally put it to the vote at the plenary
session of the Standing Committee after discussions
by the Standing Committee group and joint meetings.
3) Vote upon bills. At the NPC sessions and
the Standing Committee's meetings, voting is electronic.
A bill is passed if more than half of the delegates
attending the NPC session or more than half members
of the Standing Committee agree.
4) Promulgation of law. The laws adopted
by the NPC and its Standing Committee are promulgated
in the form of the decree of the President of the
People's Republic of China.
The Legislative Power in China
Before the end of 1982, only the National People's
Congress (NPC), the highest body of state power
established under the Constitution, had the power
to make laws. In December 1982, however, the fifth
session of the Fifth NPC adopted the fourth Constitution
of the People's Republic of China, which confers
partial legislative power to the NPC Standing Committee.
In addition, the Constitution gives the right to
the State Council, people's congresses at the provincial
level and their standing committees, and the people's
congresses of autonomous regions of ethnic minorities
to issue administrative regulations, local rules
and regulations and rules covered by the principles
of self-government. Later, the revised Organic Law
of the Local People's Congresses and Local People's
Governments extends legislative power to the people's
congresses of cities where provincial and autonomous
regional governments are based and large cities
approved by the State Council, as well as their
In 1981, the NPC Standing Committee empowered the
people's congresses of Guangdong and Fujian provinces,
and their standing committees, to make various special
economic laws and regulations for the special economic
zones established under their jurisdiction.
In 1988, Hainan Province was established and began
to enjoy local legislative power immediately.
In 1990, the third session of the Seventh NPC adopted
the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative
Region, giving it administrative, legislative power
and independent judicial power and the right of
In 1992, the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was
empowered by the NPC to pass local legislation.
In 1993, the first session of the Eighth NPC adopted
the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative
Region, giving it administrative, legislative and
independent judicial power, and right of adjudication.
In 1994, the Xiamen Special Economic Zone was empowered
by the NPC to pass local legislation, and this was
extended to the Zhuhai and Shantou special economic
zones in March 1996.
Legislation by NPC and Its Standing Committee Since
By the 11th session of the 9th NPC Standing Committee,
which concluded on August 30, 1999, the NPC and
its Standing Committee had adopted 253 laws and
106 decisions on relevant law issues in addition
to amendments to the Constitution.
Leadership of the Ninth NPC Standing Committee
Chairman: Li Peng
Li Peng, who is a Standing Committee member of the
Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China
(CPC) Central Committee, served as the Chinese premier
Son of a revolutionary martyr, Li acquired his higher
education in the former Soviet Union. Renowned as
an electricity specialist, he is one of those ranking
officials with a technical background in New China.
Li was born in October 1928 in the city of Chengdu
in southwest China's Sichuan Province. He joined
the CPC in November 1945.
Li studied at the Yan'an Institute of Natural Sciences,
Yan'an Middle School and Zhangjiakou Vocational
School of Industry between 1941 and 1946.
Then he served as a technician in the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei
Power Company and an assistant manager and a party
branch secretary at the Harbin Grease Company.
In 1948, one year before the founding of New China,
he was sent to study at the Moscow Power Institute,
majoring in hydroelectric engineering. During the
period he was chairman of the Chinese Students Association
in the Soviet Union.
Upon his return home in 1955, Li served as deputy
director and chief engineer of the Fengman Hydroelectric
Power Plant in northeast China. Later he served
as deputy chief engineer of the Northeast China
Power Administration and director of its Electricity
Dispatch Department, director of the Fuxin Power
Plant and deputy secretary of the plant's Party
Between 1966 and 1976, he held the posts as an acting
secretary of the Party Committee of the Beijing
Power Supply Bureau, chairman of the Revolutionary
Committee of the Bureau, deputy secretary of the
Party Committee of Beijing Power Administration,
chairman of the Revolutionary Committee and director
of the Administration and secretary of the leading
Party group of the Administration.
Between 1979 and 1983, he served as vice-minister
and minister of Power Industry and secretary of
the leading Party Group of the Ministry of Power
Industry, and vice-minister and deputy secretary
of the Party group of the Ministry of Water Resources
Li Peng was elected member of the CPC Central Committee
at the 12th CPC National Congress in 1982 and was
co-opted member of the Political Bureau and member
of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee
at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 12th CPC Central
Committee in 1985.
Li Peng started to serve as vice-premier of the
State Council in 1983, and took charge of energy,
communications and raw materials departments. Beginning
1985, he served concurrently as minister in charge
of the State Education Commission.
Li was elected member of the Standing Committee
of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
at the First Plenary Session of the 13th CPC Central
Committee in November 1987 and in the same month
he was appointed acting Premier of the State Council.
Five months later, that is, at the First Session
of the Seventh NPC, Li was appointed Premier of
the State Council, the fourth premier in the history
of the People's Republic of China.
Li was re-elected member of the Standing Committee
of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
at the First Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central
Committee in October 1992, and re-appointed premier
at the First Session of the Eighth NPC in the following
year. Between 1988 and 1990, he served concurrently
as minister of the State Commission for Economic
Over the past 11 years since Li Peng became the
premier, China has scored tremendous achievements
in its socialist modernization drive that have drawn
worldwide attention. The country's economic restructuring
has taken decisive strides forward, opening-up reached
a new level, and social productive forces, comprehensive
national strength and people's living standards
ascended a new stage.
Meanwhile, China's exchanges and cooperation with
other countries have greatly been enhanced. Li has
made quite a number of visits to foreign countries,
contributing to the consolidation and development
of China's friendship and cooperation with other
As the premier of the People's Republic, Li Peng
has always kept a packed schedule. Li often went
down to grassroots units across the country to do
investigations and study. Over the past 11 years
as premier, he made inspection on study tours almost
all over the country.
As the premier, he has paid equal attention to economic
growth and socialist cultural and ethical progress.
He construed the socialist cultural and ethical
progress as ideological and ethical progress and
development of education, science and culture. Li
showed particular care and attention for the work
and life of the intellectuals.
According to sources close to him, Li is an unassuming
and easy to approach, and good at making friends.
Among his acquaintances are common folks as well
as political personalities, experts and scholars.
Li is well-versed in Russian and has learned English
all by himself. He also loves reading.
At home, Li is a good helper and often does some
house work. Newspapers once published a photo showing
Li Peng mending his overcoat. He said he learned
sewing in Yan'an in the 1940s when he lived together
with children of many other revolutionary martyrs.
"Li Peng has not the slightest traces of male chauvinism,"
said Zhu Lin, his wife. "Whenever he is free, he
would lend a helping hand in household chores either
when he was an ordinary official or later a minister
or even after he became the Premier."
Li Peng's father, Li Shuoxun, was one of the earliest
CPC members. He was killed in Hainan Island by the
Kuomintang when Li Peng was only three years old.
Li Peng's mother, Zhao Juntao, used to be an educator
and also one of the early CPC members. She passed
away in 1985.
Li Peng has a family of 11. His wife graduated from
the Harbin Foreign Languages Institute and worked
in the power departments for many years. The couple
has two sons and one daughter.