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Facts about China's Parliament

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TEHRAN, March 6 (ICANA) – China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, opened its annual session on Saturday.
Sunday, March 06, 2011 10:45:00 AM
Facts about China's Parliament

According to AFP, the following is a fact file on the parliament:


CHAIRMAN: Wu Bangguo, nominally the second highest-ranking person in China’s political system after President Hu Jintao.


VENUE: Great Hall of the People, a huge Soviet-style concrete structure immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.


DURATION: 10 days.


DELEGATES: Around 3,000 are selected from provincial bureaucracies and parliaments, the ranks of the armed forces, workers, farmers, ethnic minorities and other constituencies as well as from the special Chinese regions of Hong Kong and Macau, and people with links to the self-ruled island of Taiwan.


LEGISLATIVE POWERS: The congress is often described as a rubber-stamp parliament for the nation’s Communist Party rulers, and laws are always passed with overwhelming majorities. But some observers say dissenting voices do get heard in the law preparation stage — behind closed doors.


The Standing Committee of the NPC is a smaller elite of about 160 delegates that has the constitutional authority to modify legislation.


FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS: Once a year, in early March. To handle legislative matters in between, the Standing Committee of the NPC meets roughly every two months throughout the year.


BUDGETARY POWERS: The NPC votes on, and always passes with a huge majority, the government’s annual budget.


APPOINTMENT POWERS: Every five years the Congress elects China’s president, vice president, NPC chairman, prime minister and other top leaders in elections where only one nominee selected by the Communist Party stands for each post.


ISSUES THIS YEAR: The key piece of parliamentary business will be rubber-stamping the country’s latest five-year plan for economic growth, which has already gained the far more important approval of the Communist Party.


The 2011-2015 plan calls for a shift from a growth-at-all-costs approach that has led to a widening wealth gap and horrific environmental degradation to a more eco-friendly plan in which wealth is spread more fairly and which relies less on exports to volatile overseas markets and more on domestic demand.


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, in an opening-day report on his government’s work, was to pledge further efforts to address public complaints over soaring costs of food and housing, government corruption and the rich-poor divide.


The central government budget, as well as reports from the top court and prosecutorial body, will also be approved, as they are each year.

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