According to the Constitute, the president of the People’s Republic of China exercises both domestic functions and powers and those in foreign affairs.
Domestic functions and powers:
Promulgating laws, appointing and removing the premier, vice premiers, state councilors, ministers of ministries and state commissions, auditor-general, and secretary-general, conferring state medals and honorary titles, issuing order of special amnesty, proclaiming martial law and a state of war as well as issuing order of mobilization, according to decisions of the NPC and its Standing Committee.
Functions and powers in foreign affairs:
Receiving foreign diplomatic representatives on behalf of the People’s Republic of China, appointing or recalling China’s plenipotentiary representatives abroad, and ratifying or abrogating treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign countries in pursuance of the decisions of the Standing Committee of the NPC. The Constitution adopted in 1982 also stipulates that the vice president assists the president in his work and may exercise certain functions and powers entrusted by the president.
In general, the functions and powers of the president can be summarized as in the following:
1. The power of promulgating laws. Laws adopted by NPC or its Standing Committee shall go into effect only after being promulgated by the president, which is the last act in the legislative processes in the People’s Republic of China.
2. The power of issuing orders. The appointment and removal of the premier of the State Council, the issue of the order of special amnesty, the proclamation of martial law, a state of war and general mobilization can only be made or announced by the president. Since 1959, the president has issued the order of special amnesty on six occasions.
3. The power of making appointment or removals, i.e., the power to appoint or remove officials constituting the State Council.
4. The power of conferring titles, i.e., the power to confer state honors.
(China.org.cn May 20, 2003)