A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
Wu Bangguo, “2013 Work Report of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee,” March 8, 2013
Overview of the Work in the Past Five Years
Over the past five years, the Communist Party of China (CPC) united with and led the people of all the country's ethnic groups in overcoming difficulties and risks and achieving new successes in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. During this period, significant progress was made in developing socialist democracy, the socialist legal system, and the system of people's congresses. The Eleventh NPC and its Standing Committee conscientiously implemented the guiding principles of the CPC's Seventeenth and Eighteenth National Congresses; steadfastly followed the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development; organically integrated the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country and the rule of law; performed their functions and powers in accordance with the law with the focus on the overall work of the Party and country; fully played their role of the country's highest bodies of state power; accomplished all their tasks; and made an important contribution to advancing the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics in all respects.
Establishing a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics on schedule and constantly improving it
Establishing a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics on schedule and constantly improving it by 2010 was an objective set at the Fifteenth National Party Congress for China's legislative work. To attain this objective, we proceeded from our country's national conditions and realities and made legislation more scientific and democratic. Taking raising the quality of legislation as a basic requirement, we focused on enacting laws that form the framework of the legal system, promptly revised provisions of laws that were ill-suited to economic and social development, made a concerted effort to put existing laws in order, and urged relevant departments to put their administrative regulations and local statutes in order and formulate supporting regulations for laws. By the end of 2010, we had enacted basic and major laws of all kinds pertaining to the full range of social relations, together with comprehensive corresponding administrative regulations and local statutes. Overall, the system of laws is scientific and unified. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and through the prolonged common efforts of everyone involved, a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics was created on schedule. The system is based on the national conditions and realities in China; meets the needs of reform, opening up and socialist modernization; fully reflects the will of the Party and the people; is rooted in the Constitution; has several types of laws - constitutional laws, civil and commercial laws, administrative laws, economic laws, social laws, criminal laws, and litigation and non-litigation procedure laws - as its core; and consists of three levels of laws: national laws, administrative regulations, and local statutes. The system provides laws to abide by in promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress. It is a major milestone in the history of China's socialist democracy and socialist legal system, and an important indicator of the maturity of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and it has great practical importance and far-reaching historical significance. The socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, in the form of the Constitution and laws, establishes important, fundamental, overall and long-term systems for China's development that ensure national stability. This system of laws is the legal foundation for socialism with Chinese characteristics to maintain its nature forever, the embodiment of its practical innovations, and the legal guarantee for it to thrive.
Following the formation of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, we fully analyzed the new situation and new tasks we faced in developing China's legal system. We emphasized that:
- The system of laws is dynamic, open and developing, and will naturally develop as socialism with Chinese characteristics does. Our legislative tasks remain painstaking and arduous, and we must intensify our legislative work, not slacken it.
We need to strengthen and improve our legislative work from this new starting point, focus more on revising and improving laws, and on enacting and revising supporting regulations for laws. In addition, we need to enact new laws as required by economic and social development in order to improve the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.
- The vitality of laws lies in their enforcement. The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has basically solved the problem of not having laws to follow. We need to focus more on effectively enforcing the Constitution and laws, upholding their authority and dignity, and ensuring that laws are obeyed and strictly enforced and lawbreakers are prosecuted.
In order to promote a socialist spirit of the rule of law, we adopted a resolution on strengthening publicity of and education in the legal system and commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Constitution taking force. Over the past five years, the NPC and its Standing Committee deliberated 93 bills, legal interpretations and draft decisions on legal issues and passed 86 of them.
Carrying out oversight work
We fully implemented the Law on Oversight; followed the approach of concentrating on core issues, emphasizing key points and seeking substantive results; strengthened our oversight of law enforcement and work performance; improved the way we exercise oversight; oversaw and supported the work of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; and gave impetus to implementing the major decisions and arrangements of China's central leadership. We tightened oversight of economic work including macroeconomic performance; structural adjustments to the economy; budgets and final accounts; work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers; protection of resources and the environment; and reforms in key areas, and promoted sustained and sound economic development. We strengthened oversight of work related to people's wellbeing, advanced social development with the focus on ensuring and improving people's wellbeing, made access to basic public services more equal, and solved problems of greatest concern to the people that directly and substantively affect their interests. We strengthened oversight of judicial work, and urged judicial and procuratorial bodies to improve their work mechanisms, strengthen their ranks, standardize their judicial actions, improve their competence, and safeguard social fairness and justice. The Standing Committee listened to and deliberated 70 reports from the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, organized 21 inspections of law enforcement, and held 9 special hearings.
We conscientiously implemented the Law on Deputies to People's Congresses, maintained an attitude of serving deputies, improved our services for them, and supported them in exercising their duties in accordance with the law. We handled 2,541 bills introduced by deputies, deliberated and passed 38 laws introduced in 227 of them; and are deliberating 8 legislative items introduced in 136 of them. We dealt with 37,527 deputy proposals; we have already resolved or made plans to resolve 76% of the issues raised in them, and over 90% of deputies are fully or somewhat satisfied with our work in this regard. We invited over 1,000 deputies to attend meetings of the Standing Committee in a nonvoting capacity, and over 3,800 deputies to participate in inspections of law enforcement and in activities of NPC special committees. We organized over 9,000 deputies to carry out investigations and studies on special issues, which resulted in more than 500 investigative reports. We held 33 study sessions on special topics in which over 6,300 deputies participated.
Bringing about a new phase of the NPC's foreign relations work
We served China's overall diplomatic policy, fully utilized the characteristics and advantages of the NPC's foreign relations, actively developed high-level contacts, steadily advanced the mechanism of regular exchanges, and made effective use of multilateral arenas. We comprehensively strengthened friendly relations with congresses and parliaments of other countries and multilateral parliamentary organizations, and created a pattern of the NPC's foreign contacts that is all-around, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep. At present, the NPC has a mechanism for regular exchanges with the parliaments and congresses of 14 countries and the European Parliament, has established 106 bilateral friendship groups, is a member of 15 multilateral parliamentary organizations, and has observer status at 5 multilateral parliamentary organizations. In the course of our foreign relations work, we have firmly upheld China's sovereignty, security and development interests; enhanced mutual political trust; promoted pragmatic cooperation; deepened friendship between the Chinese people and the peoples of other countries; strengthened the social foundation for developing China's relations with other countries; and played an important role in safeguarding the important period of strategic opportunities for China's development.
The Standing Committee ratified 39 treaties and agreements that China concluded with foreign countries as well as international conventions; and made decisions on and approved the appointment or removal of a number of employees in state bodies.
The Standing Committee attached great importance to self-improvement. We comprehensively improved our ideological and political development, organizational systems, work style and capabilities; kept the Party, politics, the rule of law, the overall interests of the country, and the people firmly in mind; and enhanced our capability to fulfill our duties in accordance with the law. We forged close ties with the people; carried out thorough investigations and studies; and learned from the people, past experience and lower-level organizations. We held Standing Committee lectures on special topics, enriched their content, and made them more effective. We increased the transparency of the NPC's work in various ways, and willingly accepted oversight of the people. We sought everyone's opinions with an open mind and strived to improve shortcomings in our work. We made full use of NPC special committees and supported them in performing their duties in accordance with the law. Focusing on the central tasks of the NPC and its Standing Committee, the special committees conscientiously studied, deliberated and drafted bills, and worked hard to improve the quality of legislation, make our oversight more effective and enhance the role of deputies. We strengthened contacts with standing committees of local people's congresses, and worked with them in doing the work of the NPC well under the new conditions and developing socialist democracy and the socialist legal system. NPC bodies launched a campaign to thoroughly study and put into practice the Scientific Outlook on Development and encourage their Party members and organizations to excel in their work; greatly strengthened the ranks of their staff; and fully played their role in providing advice, assistance, and services to deputies.
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