National People's Congress
3. To examine and approve the plan for national economic and social development; to examine and approve the state budget and the report on its implementation; to approve the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government; to decide on the establishment of special administrative regions and the systems to be instituted in the regions; and to decide on questions of war and peace.
4. To exercise such other functions and powers as the highest organ of state power should exercise.
Local people's congresses
People's congresses are established in provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties, cities, municipalities, towns, ethnic townships and towns. Standing committees are established at people's congresses above the county level.
The term of office of people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government and cities divided into districts is five years. That of counties, autonomous counties, cities not divided into districts, municipal districts, townships, ethnic townships and towns is three years.
Local people's congresses at various levels ensure the observance and implementation of the Constitution and the law and the administrative rules and regulations in their respective administrative areas. According to the limits of their authority as prescribed by law, they adopt and issue resolutions and examine and approve plans for local economic and cultural development and for the development of public services.
Local people's congresses at and above the county level shall examine and approve the plans for economic and social development and the budgets of their respective administrative areas and examine and approve the reports on their implementation. They have the power to alter or annul inappropriate decisions made by their own standing committees.
The people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, of cities which are capitals of the provinces or autonomous regions as well as large cites approved by the State Council have the right to adopt local regulations in light of their regional economic and cultural characteristics.
Local people's congresses at and above the county level elect and have the power to recall presidents of the people's courts and chief procurators of people's procuratorates at the corresponding level.
The election or recall of chief procurators of people's procurators of people's procuratorates shall be reported to the chief procurators of the people's procuratorates at the next higher level for submission to the standing committees of the people's congresses at the corresponding level for approval.
Relationship with state administrative organs, courts and procuratorates
The state administrative organs, judicial and prosecuting organs are all elected and supervised by and report to the people's congresses which are organs of state power. These state organs conduct their activities according to the principle of democratic centralism. This has decided the relationships between the people's congresses, the state administrative organs, the people's courts and people's procuratorates as the following: 1. The relationship of making decisions and implementing them. The people's congresses represent the people to exercise state power, make legislations, decide on major issues, elect, remove and supervise state functionaries. The laws and decisions adopted by the people's congresses must be implemented by the administrative organs, people's courts and people's procuratorates.
2. The relationship of the supervisor and the supervised. People's congresses represent the people to exercise the right of supervision of the administrative organs, peoples' courts and people's congresses. The organs being supervised must be responsible to and report their work to the people's congresses and receive the supervision of the people's congresses.
3. The relationship of working in coordination. Though having different responsibilities and division of labor, the people's congresses, the administrative organs, people's courts and people's procuratorates have the same goal, i.e., to represent and realize the fundamental interests of the people and jointly build socialism with Chinese characteristics. The people's congresses uniformly exercise the state power and, under this precondition, rationally divide the rights of administration, judicial decision and prosecuting decision, which avoids having the state power and rights being over-concentrated or unnecessarily checked, so as to allow the state organs to specialize in their distinctive responsibilities and at the same time work in a coordinated manner.
Procedures for making proposals and motions
All proposals, motions and bills of the NPC are original bills for discussion proposed by NPC deputies or departments concerned to the NPC. The general procedures for making proposals, motions and bills to the NPC:
According to the Organization Law of the National People's Congress and the Regulations of Discussions of the National People's Congress, the presidium of the NPC, the Standing Committee of the NPC, various special committees of the NPC, the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate may put forward bills to the National People's Congress. Then the presidium shall decide whether to put the bills on the agenda or to reject them for discussion at NPC sessions. In additions, a delegation to the NPC or more than 30 deputies may put forward bills concerning matters falling within the functions and powers of the NPC. The presidium shall decide to list the bills on the agenda or reject them for discussion at NPC sessions, or alternatively to be sent to special committees for reviews. The committees shall suggest whether the bills should be listed on the agenda before a decision of listing or not listing the bills on the agenda is made.
The general procedures for deliberating the proposals, motions and bills to the NPC:
Sponsors of motions and bills submit to the NPC explanations of their motions and bills first. The plenary session of various delegations and deputy groups review the motions and bills. Then the presidium puts the motions and bills to various special committees for deliberation and report. The presidium reviews the reports and submits them to NPC sessions for voting. Deputies may cast their votes by ballot, show of hands or other means, to be decided upon by the presidium. Those motions and bills with a majority of deputies in favor shall be carried. Voting results are announced on the spot by those presiding over the sessions. Amendments to the Constitution can only be proposed by NPC Standing Committee or more than one-fifth of the deputies to the NPC, to be decided upon by ballot. Those with at least two-thirds of the deputies in favor shall be adopted.
When the delegations review the motions and bills or reports, relevant departments shall send those in charge to the meetings to listen to opinions and answer questions. During the plenary session of the NPC, a delegation or more than 30 deputies may raise inquires in writing to the various ministries and commissions of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. The presidium of the NPC, or more than three delegations or one-tenth of the deputies may jointly propose the setup of investigative committees to look into special issues. The setup of such committees shall be decided upon by plenary sessions of the presidium.
1. The NPC: the highest organ of state power with five years of each term. The plenary session of the NPC is held once every year or at any time under special circumstances. Deputies to the NPC are members forming the highest organ of state power to be elected from the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and the armed forces. 2. The Standing Committee of the NPC: the permanent organization of the highest organ of state power consisting of the chairman, vice chairmen, secretary-general and members who shall not assume any posts in the state administrative organ, judicial or prosecuting organs. The term of office is also five years. The chairman and vice chairmen shall not serve more than two consecutive terms. Normally the Standing Committee is convened once every two months.
3. The Meeting of the Chairmen of the Standing Committee: Participated by the chairman, vice chairmen and secretary-general to deal with major routine work of the Standing Committee.
4. Special committees: permanent committees of the NPC, they are composed of the chairman, vice chairmen and members. Under the leadership of the NPC, special committees are guided by the Standing Committee of the NPC when the latter is not in plenary session. The special committees study, review and draft motions and bills.
5. Deputy Credential Examination Committee: permanent organ of the NPC Standing Committee for examining the credentials of NPC deputies. The specific job of the committee is to examine the credentials of deputies emerged from by-elections of the present session and the newly elected deputies for the coming session. The committee is composed of the chairman, vice chairmen and members, all nominated from among the members of the Standing Committee and by the Meeting of the Chairman of the Standing Committee, to be agreed upon by the plenary session of the Standing Committee for a term of five years.
6. The General Affairs Office, Legislative Work Committee and Budget Committee: permanent organs of the NPC Standing Committee for serving the plenary session of the NPC, meetings of the Standing Committee and sessions of the Meeting of the Chairmen of the Standing Committee; for serving the deputies of the NPC and members of the Standing Committee in their execution of functions and powers according to law and for serving the development of socialist democracy and improvement of the socialist legal system.
Standing Committee of NPC
Permanent body of the NPC, the Standing Committee, when the NPC is not in session, exercises the power of the highest state organ, is under the supervision of the full congress of the NPC, is responsible to and reports its work to the full congress of the NPC. The Standing Committee is composed of the chairman, vice chairmen, the secretary-general and members. All of its component members are elected from among the deputies to the NPC. Normally, they represent: (1) the Communist Party; (2) other political parties and patriotic and democratic personages not affiliated to any political party; (3) social organizations of workers, youth and women; (4) the People's Liberation Army; and (5) ethnic minorities each with a population more than a million.
The term of office of the Standing Committee, also five years, is the same as that of the NPC. It, however, begins with the election of the Standing Committee by the 1st session of the NPC and ends with the election of the new Standing Committee at the 1st session of the following NPC. The chairman and vice chairmen of the Standing Committee shall not serve more than two consecutive terms. Meanwhile, component members of the Standing Committee shall not serve in administrative, judicial or persecuting organs of the state. If they assume posts in such organs, they must first give up their position in the Standing Committee.
The chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC presides over the work of the Standing Committee and the vice chairmen and the secretary-general assist the chairman in his work. The Meeting of the Chairmen, attended by the chairman, vice chairmen and the secretary-general, is in charge of important routine work of the Standing Committee. This Meeting is held once every two months and special sessions may be convened whenever necessary.
The chairmen of the Standing Committee of the 1st to the 10th NPC have been Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Ye Jianying, Peng Zhen, Wan Li, Qiao Shi, Li Peng and Wu Bangguo.
In accordance with the Constitution and the Organization Law of the National People's Congress, the functions and powers of the Standing Committee include the following:
1. Legislation. According to the present Constitution, the NPC and its Standing Committee jointly exercise the power of legislation. The legislative rights of the Standing Committee mainly include: drafting and revising laws except those to be enacted only by the full congress of the NPC; partially supplementing and amending, when the NPC is not in session, laws enacted by the NPC, provided that the basic principles of these laws are not contravened. As a result, a large amount of the legislative job is conducted by the Standing Committee, with the exception of that involving the Constitution and basic laws.
2. Interpretation of the Constitution and laws. Interpretation of the Constitution means legislative explanations that are needed for further defining the legal stipulations or serving as supplements. This is in the interest of timely answering and solving questions arising over the process of implementing the Constitution or laws from a legal point of view, so as to ensure the accurate execution of the Constitution and laws.
3. Supervision of the enforcement of the Constitution. The present Constitution also gives the Standing Committee of the NPC the power of supervising its enforcement, apart from stipulating that the NPC has the power of supervision. To allow the Standing Committee, the permanent organ of the NPC, to exercise regular supervision over the enforcement of the Constitution is of great significance to the implementation of the Constitution.
4. Supervision of the work of other state organs. The Standing Committee supervises the work of the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. It annuls those administrative rules and regulations, decisions or orders of the State Council that contravene the Constitution and laws, as well as 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 or the administrative rules and regulations.
5. Appointment and removal. When the NPC is not session, the Standing Committee decides on the choice of ministers in charge of ministries and state commissions, the auditor-general or the secretary-general of the State Council, upon nomination by the premier of the State Council, decide on the choice of members of the Central Military Commission, upon nomination by the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, appoint or remove vice presidents and judges of the Supreme People's Court, members of its judicial committee and the president of the Military Court, at the recommendation of the president of the Supreme People's Court, appoint or remove deputy procurators-general and procurators of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, members of its procuratorial committee and the chief procurator of the Military Procuratorate, and 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, at the recommendation of the procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. It also decides on the appointment or recall of plenipotentiary representatives abroad.
6. Decision-making over important issues in the life of the state. This includes decision on the ratification or abrogation of treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign states, institution of systems of titles and ranks for military and diplomatic personnel and of other special ranks, instituting state medals and titles or honors and decision on their conferment, decision on the granting of special pardons, decision on, when the NPC is not in session, the proclamation of a state of war in the event of armed attack on the country or in fulfillment of international treaty obligations concerning joint resistance against aggression, decision on general or partial mobilization, decision on the imposition of martial law throughout the country or in particular provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities directly under the Central Government, examination and approval of, when the NPC is not in session, partial adjustment to the national economic and social development plans and state budget which are necessary during the course of their implementation.
7. Other functions and powers delegated by the NPC. These may include presiding over the election of the deputies to the NPC, convening sessions of the NPC, contacting NPC deputies and organizing them to make inspection and providing leadership over special committees when the NPC is not in session.
Delegations of the NPC
According to stipulations in the Organizational Law of the National People's Congress, deputies to the NPC are organized into delegations based upon their constituencies. Each delegation has a leader and deputy leaders. Before 1997, there were 32 delegations to the NPC including 31 from provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government) and one from the People's Liberation Army. In June 1997, Chongqing became the fourth municipality directly under the Central Government. On July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was established and on December 20, 1999, the Macao Special Administrative Region was also established. Since then there have been 34 delegations to the NPC. The responsibilities of the delegations:
1. Holding meetings before each session of the NPC to discuss issues in preparation of the sessions proposed by the Standing Committee; and
2. When the NPC is in session, reviewing various motions and bills and having their opinions voiced at the meetings of the presidium or plenary sessions of the NPC through delegation leaders or representatives elected.
The rights of the delegations:
1. A delegation may put forward to the NPC motions or bills involving issues falling within the power of the NPC;
2. A delegation may put forward in writing inquiries to the State Council and its various ministries and commissions; and
3. More than three delegations may jointly put forward, for reviewing by the NPC presidium, motions of removal of members composing the Standing Committee of the NPC, the president or vice president of the People's Republic of China, members of the State Council and the Central Military Commission, the president of the Supreme People's Court and the procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Besides, when the NPC is in session, meetings of delegation leaders and the NPC presidium may decide to hold closed sessions apart from open sessions.
Deputies to the NPC
The NPC is composed of deputies who are component members of the highest organ of state power and collectively exercise the power of the highest state organ. According to the Constitution and the Organization Law of the National People's Congress, each deputy serves a term of five years beginning with the opening of the 1st session of each NPC and ends with the 1st session of the following NPC. Deputies emerged from by-elections shall serve from the date of election to the end of the present term of office of the NPC. Rights of the deputies:
1. Right to draft proposals for bills, raising suggestions, criticisms and voicing opinions;
2. Right to vote in election and decide on appointment;
3. Right to raise bills for questioning and conduct hearings;
4. Right not to be investigated for their speeches and voting at various sessions of the NPC;
5. Right not to be arrested or criminally tried without permission when the NPC is in session or not in session;
6. Right to make inspections concerning issues under review by the NPC; and
7. Right to enjoy guarantee provided by the state and society to the deputies according to practical needs when attending NPC sessions or exercising other rights belonging to the deputies.
Obligations of the deputies:
1. Obligation to exemplarily abide by the Constitution and laws, earnestly exercise rights and functions, maintain state secret and assist the enforcement of the Constitution and laws in the production, work and social activities they engage in; and
2. Obligation to maintain close contact with the units and people from whom they are elected, listen to and report people’s opinions and demands and strive to serve the people.
Since 1954, the People's Republic of China has convened 11 National People's Congresses.
Number Month/Year Chairman
1 Sept/1954 Liu Shaoqi
2 Apr/1959 Zhu De
3 Dec/1964 Zhu De
4 Jan/1975 Zhu De
5 Mar/1978 Ye Jianying
6 Jun/1983 Peng Zhen
7 Mar/1988 Wan Li
8 Mar/1993 Qiao Shi
9 Mar/1998 Li Peng
10 Mar/2003 Wu Bangguo
11 Mar/2008 Wu Bangguo