NPC to Step up Role as Overseer

Top legislator Li Peng yesterday told deputies of the National People's Congress (NPC) that the NPC Standing Committee would enhance supervision over government organizations and judicial organs while also paying special attention to law-making this year.

"Historical experience shows that power without control and supervision will inevitably lead to corruption," said Li, chairman of the committee.

According to China's Constitution, one of the NPC's primary duties is to supervise the exercising of power by administrative and judicial bodies.

According to Li, it is now necessary to fully institutionalize the NPC's supervisory function to stop corruption before it begins.

Li noted in his report on the Standing Committee's work to the on-going Fourth Session of the Ninth NPC.

"Failure in the fight against corruption and failure to build a clean government present major risks to the future of the Party and the State," he said.

The NPC Standing Committee, elected by NPC deputies and authorized with full parliamentary power during times when the NPC is not sitting, carries out supervision mainly by reviewing work reports of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. The committee also organizes regular countrywide inspection tours to determine whether the laws have been applied correctly.

In laying out the committee's plans for this year, Li said the committee would send inspection teams to look into the enforcement of the laws on agriculture, the organization of villagers' committees, securities and the prevention and treatment of water pollution.

The Standing Committee will also review reports from the State Council on various issues, including the enhancement of agriculture as the foundation of the national economy, rises in farmers' income, social security, monetary policy, efforts to eradicate counterfeit products and management of the cultural market, Li said.

Last year, the committee concentrated on the enforcement of laws on township enterprises, land management, the organization of urban neighborhood committees and criminal procedure.

Li told the NPC deputies that the committee will craft legally binding decisions that will require the government and judicial organs to solve the problems found in work report reviews and committee inspections.

Any government and judicial bodies found to have problems will be required to submit reports on solution efforts within a pre-set time period, Li said.

The chairman said his committee will combine the supervisory and law-making aspects of its duties to make laws that lend themselves to efficient supervision.

A well-functioning system of laws is needed to guarantee the success of the anti-corruption campaign.

Towards the end of his report, the chairman said anti-corruption effectiveness must be included in the feasibility studies for new laws in the future.

The committee has put the enactment of a supervision law on its agenda for this year in response to escalating calls from NPC deputies in previous sessions.

The committee also plans to complete amendments to the Marriage Law and work on new laws, including a Civil Code, laws governing administrative activities, social security, and a number of anti-trust and anti-dumping laws.

When all these laws are enacted, a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics will take shape, Li said.

Last year, the committee adopted 14 laws, accepted a decision on safeguarding Internet security and a legal interpretation on the criminal code, and ratified 12 treaties and agreements signed with foreign countries, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Among the 14 new laws adopted were revisions of old laws on Chinese-foreign co-operative ventures, foreign invested enterprises, customs and patents.

These moves were made to meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization, to which China's accession is said to have been virtually assured.

Another 12 bills are currently being reviewed, Li said.

Li said the NPC and its Standing Committee adopted more than 390 laws and decisions concerning legal matters since the country adopted its reform and opening-up policies. Local people's congresses have also promulgated more than 8,000 local laws, he added.

(China Daily 03/10/2001)