China's legislators have contributed a record number of motions and proposals to the annual parliamentary session this year, with about 10 percent of them focused on issues concerning farmers.
"We received a total of 1,374 motions and more than 3,180 pieces of proposals from members of the NPC by Wednesday," Peng Yibing, an official with the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee, said Thursday. "About 10 percent of the motions are issues on agriculture, rural areas and farmers."
As a matter of fact, most of the motions address the daily life of people, particularly, those people in abject need, he said at a briefing.
The annual session of the NPC, scheduled to close Sunday, paid special attention to the concerns of the ordinary people on the sidelines of state matters this year as the new leadership has set forth the concept of "putting people first."
"The central task of the Party and the nation," "major issues concerning reform, development and stability" and "immediate interests of the majority of the people" will be the three key spheres for the NPC Standing Committee to work with, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, told the current NPC annual session.
Legislation on the issues of "immediate concerns" to common folks tops the list of laws slated for examination or deliberation this year. They include the laws pertaining to property, bankruptcy of enterprises, correction of unlawful acts and state of emergency.
A number of laws to be amended this year, including foreign trade law, corporate law, securities law, auditory law as well as laws involving epidemic diseases prevention and treatment and the disposal of solid wastes, are also of the same category.
"In legislation of social and economic affairs, we should hinge on the scientific approach based on an overall, coordinated and sustainable growth," Wu said. "We must bear in mind the principle of 'putting people first'."
The NPC is the highest organ of power in compliance with the Chinese Constitution, and many common citizens pin high hopes on its 2,984 deputies from around the country. From the farmers' income to control of bird flu, and from private property rights protection to food and drug safety, its deputies this year brought with them proposals on topics covering almost all aspects of social and economic life.
Motions and proposals are the two main written forms in which legislators voice their views. Usually, they are classified and forwarded to special NPC committees, the State Council or the judicial organs to handle.
Except the members of the NPC Standing Committee, the NPC members are not full-time legislators. They could be local officials, scholars, business people, policemen, army officers, lawyers, teachers, drivers, sportsmen, workers or farmers.
The NPC Standing Committee organizes several inspection trips annually for its members to investigate into the enforcement of laws. Recently, such trips became crucial to help ordinary people ease their worries and overcome their difficulties and hardships.
In three months from July to September last year, it sent inspection teams to five provinces to learn about the enforcement of the Construction Law as mounting problems with quality of buildings and defaulted payment of migrant laborers' wages had surfaced and became increasingly serious.
"We found numerous problems during the study tours of less-developed areas in east China's Jiangsu Province," recalled Yan Yixun, a member of the NPC Standing Committee who took part in one of the field trips. "On the issue of unpaid wages to migrant laborers, for example, we found that one-third of the wage arrears were owed by the local government. Our team has come to recognize that to solve the problem the government must act first."
Following these field trips, the NPC Standing Committee made a host of proposals to the State Council. After Premier Wen Jiabao himself helped a farmer in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality to get wage arrears back, a growing number of government departments followed suit to help migrant workers.
The NPC Standing Committee urged the State Council last year to control SARS, dispose of medical wastes and sewage waters, prevent and control bird flu, among other similar issues of immediate concern to the people's life. Many of its proposals were accepted.
Tens of thousands of people across China write letters to or visit the NPC Standing Committee for complaints regarding the malpractice by local government or judicial departments each year. The Committee received more than 31,000 visitors along with 57,000letters of complaints last year alone.
"The letters of complaints and visits from the people constitute an essential channel of the NPC and its Standing Committee to acquaint themselves with the concerns of the people,"NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo told the parliamentary session. "It is an important part where we should base our supervision on. We must keep improving our work in this aspect."
(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2004)