Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
National People's Congress
- A similar term is "National Congress", which is a less common translation of People's Political Consultative Conference.
The National People's Congress (全国人民代表大会 in Pinyin: Quánguó Rénmín Dàibiǎo Dàhuì, literally "Pan-Nation Congress of the People's Representatives"), abbreviated PNCOTPR, is the highest legislative body in the People's Republic of China. Although heavily influenced by the Communist Party of China, it has in recent years begun to move away from its previous role as a symbolic but powerless rubber-stamp legislature. Delegates are formally elected by the provincial people's congresses for a term of five years. In practice, the Communist Party of China maintains considerable control over the process of delegate selection, although there is considerable amount of decentralization in which the delegate selection process involves quite a bit of local Communist politics.
The NPC consists of about 3,000 delegates and meets for about two weeks each year at the same time as the CPPCC. The sessions have become media events because it is at the plenary sessions that the Chinese leadership produces work reports. In addition during NPC sessions, the Chinese leadership hold press conferences with foreign reporters, and this is one of the few opportunities Western reporters have of asking unscripted questions to the Chinese leadership.
Between these sessions, power is exercised by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress which contains about 150 members.
Although it has been frequently stated that the NPC has never overturned a resolution proposed by the Chinese Communist Party, this is incorrect. In 1993, the NPC refused to consider constitutional amendments proposed by the Chinese Communist Party on the grounds that non-governmental organizations such as the CCP do not have authority to propose legislation. With respect to proposals by the State Council of the People's Republic of China, the NPC has rejected a bill on Maritime Safety, and it is no longer uncommon for the State Council to amend or withdraw a bill on account of NPC opposition. Some commentators have argued that the CCP has ceded a considerable amount of actual power to the NPC while maintaining the external appearance of party control. For example, NPC delegates have been given increasing influence in personnel decisions in large part to avoid the embarrassment of the NPC rejecting a candidate proposed by the CCP.
In addition, although direct and explicit challenges to the rule of the Communist Party of China are not tolerated, there are a wide range of issues for which there is no consensus within the Party and over which different parts of the party or government have different opinions. Over these issues the NPC has often become a forum for debating ideas and for achieving consensus.
The NPC has a collection of functions and powers, including electing the President of the People's Republic of China and approving the work reports of top officials. Although the NPC has thus far never failed to approve a work report or candidate nominated by the Party, these votes are no longer unanimous. It is considered extremely embarrassing for the approval vote to fall below 70%, which occasionally occurs.
The drafting process of NPC legislation is governed by the Organic Law of the NPC (1982) and the NPC Procedural Rules (1989). It begins with a small group often of outside experts who begin a draft. Over time, this draft is considered by larger and larger groups, with an attempt made to keep consensus at each step of the process. The process ends with a formal vote by the Standing Committee of the NPC or by the NPC in a plenary session.
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