China's top lawmaker Li Peng told legislators on Saturday elections for the next National People's Congress (NPC) would be completed by the end of January 2003.
In his work report of NPC Standing Committee, the NPC Chairman also said this year the lawmaking body would revise and enact laws relating to China's obligations to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which it joined in December.
Li said elections were already taking place for township congresses and that in the second half of 2002 they would begin at the county level and above.
When it convenes in March 2003, the tenth NPC will vote on who takes government positions.
Li said the Standing Committee planned to enact and revise several laws covering export commodity inspection, insurance, monopolies, foreign trade, and animal and plant quarantine to meet WTO obligations.
"In enacting, reviewing and revising relevant laws and regulations, we will strictly abide by the WTO rules and make full use of them to protect and promote China's economic growth," he said.
He said the Standing Committee would also try to improve its supervisory mechanism to ensure administrative and judicial efficiency.
Li also said the NPC would try to control graft in its supervision of the central budget.
The congress may even set up special investigation committees to look into serious cases of law violation, he said.
The current session of NPC, which is scheduled to end on March 15, is the fifth and final annual meeting of the ninth NPC.
Following Li's speech, a draft decision on the number of deputies elected to next year's NPC was submitted to the congress, outlining the overall makeup of the legislative body and proposing to raise the number of women representatives.
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2002)