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The National People's Congress

1. Nature

The system of people's congress is an organizational form for the state power in China. It is China's fundamental political system.

The power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people and the organ for the people to exercise state power is the National People's Congress and local people's congresses at all levels.

The National People's Congress is the highest organ of state power. Local people's congresses are local organs of state power.

2. Composition and Term of Office

The NPC is composed of deputies elected from the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and deputies elected by the armed forces.

Deputies to the NPC are organized into delegations according to the units they are elected from. Each delegation is headed by a chairman and vice chairmen.

All the ethnic minorities are entitled to appropriate representation.

The NPC is elected for a term of five years.

The Standing Committee of the NPC must ensure the completion of election of deputies to the succeeding NPC two months prior to the expiration of the term of office of the current NPC. Should extraordinary circumstances prevent such an election, it may be postponed and the term of office of the current NPC extended by the decision of a vote of more than two-thirds of all those on the Standing Committee of the current NPC. The election of deputies to the succeeding NPC must be completed within one year after the termination of such extraordinary circumstances.

The NPC meets in session once a year and is convened by its Standing Committee.

A session of the NPC may be convened at any time the Standing Committee deems it necessary or when more than one-fifth of the deputies to the NPC so propose.

3. Functions and Powers

The NPC exercises the following functions and powers:

(1) to amend the Constitution;

The amendment of the Constitution shall be proposed by the Standing Committee of the NPC or more than one-fifth of the deputies to the NPC and can only be adopted by a majority of no less than two-thirds of the deputies to the NPC.

(2) to supervise the enforcement of the Constitution;

(3) to enact and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, the state organs and other matters;

(4) to elect the President and the Vice President of the People's Republic of China;

(5) to decide on the choice of the Premier of the State Council upon nomination by the President, and on the choice of the Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of ministries or commissions, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-general of the State Council upon nomination by the Premier;

(6) to elect the Chairman of the Central Military commission and, upon nomination by the Chairman, to decide on the choice of all other members of the Central Military Commission;

(7) to elect the President of the Supreme People's Court;

(8) to elect the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate;

(9) to examine and approve the plan for national economic and social development and the report on its implementation;

(10) to examine and approve the state budget and the report on its implementation;

(11) to alter or annul inappropriate decisions of the Standing Committee of the NPC;

(12) to approve the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

(13) to decide on the establishment of special administrative regions and the systems to be instituted there;

(14) to decide on questions of war and peace;

(15) to exercise such other functions and powers as the highest organ of state power should exercise.

(16) The NPC has the right to remove the following functionaries:

1) The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the People's Republic of China;

2) The Premier of the State Council, the Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of the ministries or commissions, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-general of the State Council;

3) The Chairman, Vice Chairman and other members of the Central Military Commission;

4) The President of the Supreme People's Court;

5) The Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

4. Deputies to the People's Congresses

(1) The election of deputies

Deputies to the NPC are elected by the people's congresses of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and by the armed forces.

Deputies to the people's congresses of the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and cities divided into districts are elected by the people's congresses at the next lower level.

Deputies to the people's congresses of counties, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships, ethnic townships and towns are elected directly by the electorates.

(2) The rights of the deputies

  • During the session

    1) Right to draft proposals for bills;

    2) Right to raise suggestions, criticisms and put forward opinions;

    3) Right to vote in election and decide on appointment;

    4) Right to examine issues;

    5) Right to propose the recall of functionaries;

    6) Right to raise bills for questioning and conduct hearings;

    7) Right to draft suggestions;

    8) Right to vote;

    9) Right to impunity.

  • Not in session

    1) Right to maintain contact with original voting units;

    2) Right to inspect;

    3) Right to propose provisional sessions;

    4) Right to audit other meetings;

    5) Right to participate in committees for investigating specified issues;

    6) Right to sit in meetings of the people's congress and its standing committee of the original unit the deputy is elected from;

    7) Right of special protection of the person;

    8) Right to privileges for deputies.

    5. Composition of the Deputies to the Ninth NPC

    Workers and peasants: 18.87%

    Intellectuals: 21.05%

    Cadres 32.87%

    Deputies from non-Communist parties and democrats without party affiliation: 15.42%

    Deputies from the PLA: 8.98%

    Deputies from the HKSAR: 1.17%

    Deputies from the MSAR: 0.40%

    Returned overseas Chinese: 1.24%

    Women deputies: 21.81%

    Deputies from the 55 ethnic minorities: 14.37%

    6. The Standing Committee of the NPC

    The Standing Committee of the NPC is the permanent organ of the NPC. When the NPC is not in session, the Standing Committee performs the right of the highest organ of state power. It is responsible to and reports to the NPC.

    (1) The composition and term of office of the Standing Committee of the NPC

    The Standing Committee of the NPC is composed of the Chairman, Vice Chairmen, Secretary-general and members.

    Ethnic minorities are entitled to appropriate representation on the Standing Committee.

    The NPC elects and has the power to recall members of the Standing Committee.

    Those on the Standing Committee shall not serve in state administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs.

    The term of office of the Standing Committee corresponds with that of the NPC and it shall exercise its power until a succeeding Standing Committee is elected by the succeeding NPC.

    The Chairman and Vice Chairmen of the NPC shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.

    (2) The functions and powers of the Standing Committee

    The Standing Committee of NPC exercises the following functions and powers:

    1) to interpret the Constitution and supervise its enforcement;

    2) to enact and amend laws, with the exception of those which should be enacted by the NPC;

    3) to partially supplement and amend, when the NPC is not in session, laws enacted by the NPC provided that the basic principles of these laws are not contravened;

    4) to interpret laws;

    5) to review and approve, when the NPC is not in session, partial adjustments to the plan for national economic and social development or to the state budget that prove necessary in the course of their implementation;

    6) to supervise the work of the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate;

    7) to annul those administrative rules and regulations, decisions or orders of the State Council that contravene the Constitution or the law;

    8) to annul 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, the law or the administrative rules and regulations;

    9) to decide, when the NPC is not in session, on the choice of Ministers in charge of ministries or commissions, the Auditor-General or the Secretary-general of the State Council upon nomination by the Premier of the State Council;

    10) to decide, upon nomination by the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, on the choice of other members of the Commission, when the NPC is not in session;

    11) to appoint or remove, at the recommendation of the President of the Supreme People's Court, the Vice Presidents and Judges of the Supreme People's Court, members of its Judicial Committee and the President of the Military Court;

    12) to appoint or remove, at the recommendation of the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Deputy Procurators-General and the procurators of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, members of its Procuratorial Committee and the Chief Procurator of the military procuratorate, and to approve the appointment or removal of the chief procurators of the people's procuratorates of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

    13) to decide on the appointment or recall of plenipotentiary representatives abroad;

    14) to decide on the ratification or abrogation of treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign states;

    15) to institute systems of titles and ranks for military and diplomatic personnel and of other specific titles and ranks;