The Fifth Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opened on March 3 in Beijing, and the Fifth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) will be convened on March 5. Collectively known as the “Two Sessions,” the NPC and CPPCC annual sessions are two of the most significant political meetings in China.
The NPC, China’s top legislative body, is responsible for amending the Constitution and overseeing its enforcement, as well as enacting and amending basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, state organs and other matters. The CPPCC is an important organ for the development of multi-Party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
China’s Two Sessions and Ordinary People
The Two Sessions serve as a platform for policymakers to understand what ordinary Chinese people need. Participants in these two meetings are from all walks of life. They bring their motions, proposals and suggestions concerning almost every aspect of social development to the capital city for the meetings. How do these suggestions and proposals come into being? If the NPC deputies and CPPCC members are representing a particular region, they collect opinions from the local people there. If they focus on a certain sector, like healthcare or education, for example, they conduct surveys to find out what people need the most. Then, they analyse all that information, and write it up into a suggestion or proposal to bring to the meetings.
Suggestions on Ordinary People’s Needs
The hot topics of the Two Sessions over the past five years mirror what Chinese people care about most in their lives, as well as the development of the country.
The political topics hotly discussed at the Two Sessions are some of the most serious subjects, such as efforts to eradicate corruption and uphold integrity, law-based governance, and modernization of governance systems.
The economic subjects have some of the most recognizable project titles, like the Belt and Road Initiative. A whole lot of other topics also fall into the economic bracket, such as the 13th Five-Year Plan, supply-side reform, mass entrepreneurship and innovation, the new normal of China’s economy, the internet, and issues related to agriculture, farmers and rural areas.
Topics on social issues are some of the most closely related to ordinary people’s daily lives and have everything to do with people’s ‘sense of gain.’ People have a lot to say about their jobs, housing status, welfare systems, food safety, education, and so on, so these all come up regularly.
Discussions on environmental issues can also get pretty heated: smog, environmental protection, and promoting ecological progress have all been among them.
There will be thousands of suggestions and proposals from the participants of the two meetings. And the government departments will listen to all those suggestions and try their best to solve problems involved. In 2016, the State Council handled 7,873 suggestions from NPC deputies and 3,862 proposals from CPPCC members, both surpassing 90 percent of the total number put forward. About 82 percent of the problems they pointed out have been solved or are being solved step by step. For any problems that cannot be solved, the administration elaborates on the situation.
The Report on the Work of the Government Published
The Report on the Work of the Government is published each year during the Two Sessions. This important document reviews the previous year’s government work and also lays out the plan for this year. Each report covers that year’s most pressing issues.
For instance, in the Report on the Work of the Government in 2016, the government stated that it would launch a fight against poverty, pledging that 10 million rural people would be lifted out of poverty in 2016. China has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty in the past three decades, accounting for 70 percent of the people who have escaped poverty worldwide in this period. In 2015, the “Made in China 2025” plan was launched for the purposes of upgrading China from a manufacturer of quantity to one of quality. And the term “internet banking” was first seen in the government work report in 2014, which meant that internet finance had been officially recognized and that inclusive financial systems were to have better development momentum.
Major Laws Passed or Modified
Over decades, many important laws concerning people’s well-being have been modified or passed during the NPC sessions.
The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China (draft) will be deliberated in this year’s NPC session. It has been under heated discussion for quite a long time, because the law stipulates many basic principles of business and daily life. In 2016, the Charity Law of the People’s Republic of China was passed. This new law set up comprehensive norms for the development of charity in modern times. In 2015, the Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China was modified. This modification paved the way for comprehensive law-based administration of governance.
The Two Sessions have everything to do with ordinary Chinese people. They let the policymakers know what people want or need, unveil the government’s work plan for this year, and approve or modify important laws concerning people’s daily life.