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, 2011 Report on the Work of the National People’s Congress, March 10, 2011
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REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS
Delivered at the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National People's Congress on March 10, 2011
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
On behalf of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), I now present this report on its work for your deliberation and approval.
Major Work of 2010
In 2010, faced with complex international and domestic environments, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary united with and led the people of all our country's ethnic groups in working as one; breaking new ground; forging ahead; successfully reaching the targets and accomplishing tasks set forth in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan; effectively consolidating and expanding the achievements made in responding to the impact of the global financial crisis; making a Herculean effort to triumph over major natural disasters such as the strong Yushu earthquake in Qinghai Province and the major Zhugqu mudslide in Gansu Province; successfully hosting the Shanghai World Expo and the Guangzhou Asian Games; and making significant fresh progress in socialist economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development, thereby laying a solid foundation for economic and social development during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period.
Over the past year, the NPC Standing Committee adhered to Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as its guide; thoroughly applied the Scientific Outlook on Development; closely integrated the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country and the rule of law; and accomplished a great deal of solid and effective work concerning the overall work of the Party and country in accordance with the guiding principles of the Third Session of the Eleventh NPC. The Standing Committee deliberated and passed 16 bills and draft decisions on legal issues; listened to and deliberated 13 work reports by the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; investigated compliance with six laws; conducted investigations and studies on two special topics and made inquiries on three special topics; handled 506 bills submitted by NPC deputies; approved three treaties and accords China concluded with foreign countries and China's accession to one international convention; made decisions on and approved the appointment or removal of a number of employees in state bodies; and made new contributions to ensuring that a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics was established on schedule, promoting the implementation of major decisions and arrangements of the central leadership, and stimulating comprehensive, balanced and sustainable economic and social development.
I. Strengthening legislative work, with the focus on establishing a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics on schedule
In order to attain the legislative objective set forth at the Fifteenth National Party Congress of establishing a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics by 2010, last year we put great effort into formulating and revising important laws that form the framework of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, and oversaw and guided relevant authorities in comprehensively completing the work of reviewing existing administrative regulations and local statutes.
1. We formulated and revised important laws.
Establishing a sound system of social insurance laws was a major issue that has a direct bearing on the vital interests of hundreds of millions of people. The Standing Committee attached great importance to formulating the Social Insurance Law, and on the basis of a preliminary evaluation of a draft of it by the Standing Committee of the previous NPC, the Standing Committee of the current NPC conducted three evaluations and made major revisions to the draft. This law clearly states in legal terms that the state shall establish social insurance systems such as basic pension insurance, basic medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance. The law sets forth in principle stipulations on transferring basic pension insurance and continuing its coverage, raising the overall planning levels of basic pension insurance funds, and establishing a new rural social pension insurance system and a new rural cooperative medical care system. The law strengthens the authority of the standing committees of people's congresses at all levels to oversee social insurance funds. The promulgation and implementation of this law is of great significance for accelerating the establishment of a social security system covering both urban and rural residents, ensuring that the people share in the fruits of reform and development, and stimulating the development of a harmonious socialist society.
Deputies to people's congresses are members of organs of state power. In order for deputies to fully play their role, we started to revise the Law on Deputies to People's Congresses in a timely manner in accordance with deputies' proposals and suggestions, and on the foundation of the many suggestions we had already solicited, we made a written request of each deputy to the NPC for further comments. The Law on Deputies to People's Congresses was revised based on a review of practical experience garnered from the implementation of Document No. 9 of the CPC Central Committee in 2005. It further clarifies the rights and obligations of deputies, details how they should act when their congress is not in session, and strengthens measures to guarantee that deputies perform their functions. All this will help to further guarantee that deputies perform their functions in accordance with the law, and make full use of the features and advantages of the system of people's congresses.
The system of primary-level self-governance is one of China's important political systems. The Organic Law of Villagers' Committees, which was revised by the Standing Committee, improves the procedures for electing and dismissing villagers' committees, and improves the system of democratic decision making, supervision and oversight. It will play an important role in developing primary-level democracy in rural areas; stimulating the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of farmers; and promoting reform, development and stability in rural areas.
The Standing Committee revised the Law on State Compensation mainly by making it easier to seek compensation, improving the procedures for handling cases, demarcating the scope of compensation, clarifying the responsibility for producing evidence, and ensuring that compensation is paid. This is of great significance for getting state organs to exercise their powers and functions in accordance with the law; protecting the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations; and safeguarding social fairness, justice, harmony and stability.
The Criminal Law, which defines crimes, criminal responsibility and punishment for crimes, is a pillar of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, and plays an important role in punishing crime, protecting the people, maintaining public order and ensuring national security. The NPC comprehensively revised the Criminal Law in 1997. Afterwards, the Standing Committee passed one resolution and seven revisions to it to better meet the requirements for punishing crime. The eighth revision to the Criminal Law adopted by the Standing Committee last year further embodied the penal policy of severity tempered with mercy, and removed 13 non-violent economic crimes from the list of capital crimes, which accounted 19.1% of the total number on the list. It strictly standardized the grounds for commuting a death sentence with a two-year stay of execution to life imprisonment, commuting a life sentence to a set term of imprisonment, and releasing convicts on parole, adjusted the method for calculating the set term of imprisonment for people convicted of committing multiple crimes, and increased punishment for recidivist criminals and Mafia-like organized crime. In accordance with NPC deputies' proposals and suggestions, it also defined actions that seriously harm the interests of the people as crimes, such as drunk driving, speeding and refusal to pay workers' wages; made the regulations on punishing the crimes of endangering food safety, producing and selling counterfeit drugs, and damaging the environment and resources more specific; and further strengthened the protection of the people's wellbeing under the Criminal Law. All this made punishment better fit the crime so that the Criminal Law can better play its role in punishing crime, educating and reforming criminals, and preventing and reducing crime.
The Standing Committee formulated the People's Mediation Law to incorporate into law the good experiences and practices that were accumulated in mediation work over the years, improve the legal basis of the people's mediation system, clarify the relationship between people's mediation and other mechanisms for settling disputes, and strengthen support and guarantees for people' s mediation work. This law is beneficial for making the most of the unique features and advantages of the people's mediation system, better settling disputes among the people, resolving social conflicts, and promoting harmony and stability.
The Standing Committee also formulated the Vehicle and Vessel Tax Law, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Law, the Law on the Application of Laws to Foreign-Related Civil Relationships, and the Law on the Protection of Petroleum and Natural Gas Pipelines; revised the Administrative Supervision Law, the Water and Soil Conservation Law, the Law on Protecting State Secrets, and the Law on Officers in the Reserve Forces; made the decision to approve the amendment to Annex I of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and kept on file the amendment to Annex II of the Basic Law - Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Its Voting Procedures.
2. We supervised and guided relevant authorities in completing the concentrated review of existing administrative regulations and local statutes.
Administrative regulations and local statutes are important components of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, and they play an important role in ensuring effective law enforcement, promoting administration in accordance with the law, and managing state and local affairs. Nevertheless, some existing regulations and statutes are unsuitable, uncoordinated or incomplete. Therefore, on the foundation of the concentrated review of existing laws completed in 2009, we focused on supervising and guiding relevant authorities in their concentrated review of existing administrative regulations and local statutes last year. The State Council and local people's congresses attached great importance to this work and, on the basis of a concentrated review, dealt with the regulations and statutes within their respective purview by type. By the end of last year, they had revised 107 administrative regulations and 1,417 local statutes, repealed 7 administrative regulations and 455 local statutes, and completed the concentrated review of existing administrative regulations and local statutes, thereby ensuring the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics was established on schedule in 2010.
3. We worked hard to make legislation more scientific and democratic.
First, we got NPC deputies to fully play their role in legislative work. Regardless of whether we were debating and making decisions concerning legislative items or drawing up and deliberating draft laws, we earnestly studied and drew upon suggestions expressed in deputies' bills and invited concerned deputies to participate in legislative work.
Second, we expanded the orderly participation of citizens in the legislative process. We adhered to and improved the mechanism for making draft bills public; selected issues raised in draft laws that are of widespread concern to the people and fully debated them; earnestly solicited opinions from a wide range of sources, especially people at the primary level; and constantly improved the drafts. The Vehicle and Vessel Tax Law is an important law of widespread concern to the people. In just the first month after the full text of the draft bill was published, we received nearly 100,000 comments from all sectors of society, which we conscientiously sorted out and analyzed, and promptly gave feedback on. Taking into account that roughly 87% of our country' s passenger vehicles have small or medium displacement and are mainly used by wage earners, we made important revisions to the draft bill on the basis of the views of the majority of respondents so that the law does not increase people' s tax burden yet helps to promote energy conservation and emissions reduction.
Third, we launched a pilot project last year for evaluating enacted legislation. We chose the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress, the Law on Promoting Agricultural Mechanization, the Law on the Popularization of Agricultural Technology, and the Environmental Protection Law to focus on. We analyzed, discussed and evaluated the system of laws, legal provisions, law enforcement and the degree of public satisfaction with laws by means of questionnaires, field investigations and studies, case studies and various other ways, and gained valuable experience in evaluating enacted legislation in an orderly manner.
II. Strengthening our oversight work with the focus on facilitating the implementation of the central leadership's major decisions and arrangements
To successfully complete the objectives and tasks set forth in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, we strengthened oversight of economic work and efforts to ensure and improve the people's wellbeing. We constantly improved the way we exercise oversight and carried out inquiries on three special topics in accordance with the law, thus making our oversight more effective.
1. We strengthened oversight of economic work, focusing on helping transform the pattern of economic development.
Last year, in addition to the established practice of hearing and deliberating the reports on the implementation the country's annual plan and budgets, on the final accounts of the central government, and on auditing work, as well as deliberating and approving the final accounts of the central government, we also heard and deliberated reports on expediting the development of the service sector, developing the culture industry, and national grain security; inspected compliance with the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress, the Law on the Popularization of Agricultural Technology, the Energy Conservation Law, the Law on Promoting Cleaner Production, and Law on the Protection of Investments by Compatriots from Taiwan; and carried out follow-up investigations and studies on the implementation of some major public-funded projects. During the deliberation, members of the Standing Committee emphasized the following three points.
First, we need to make strategic economic restructuring the main orientation of transforming the pattern of economic development more quickly, make significantly developing the service sector the focus of optimizing and upgrading our industrial structure, vigorously support strategic emerging industries, more quickly foster new areas of economic growth, and effectively curb excessively rapid growth of energy-intensive and highly polluting industries.
Second, we need to make increasing our innovation capacity our strategic foundation, focus on making breakthroughs in major scientific research programs and key technologies that affect our country's future development, and strive to capture the technological high ground in the new round of international competition.
Third, we need to greatly improve irrigation and water conservancy, speed up the translation of advances in agricultural science and technology into actual productive forces and widely apply them, constantly increase the contribution of agricultural science and technology to agricultural development, ensure national food security, and foster sustained agricultural development and steady increases in farmers' incomes.
2. Concentrating on resolving problems affecting the people's wellbeing, we strengthened oversight of the major work related to the people's wellbeing that is of great concern to the general public.
We heard and deliberated the State Council's reports on deepening the reform of the pharmaceutical and healthcare systems, the movement of the rural workforce and safeguarding the rights and interests of rural migrant workers, the economic and social development of ethnic minorities and ethnic minority areas, and strengthening road traffic safety management. We inspected compliance with the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women, and also heard and deliberated the report by the Supreme People' s Court on civil trials and the report by the Supreme People's Procuratorate on improving procuratorial work concerning dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. During their deliberation, members of the Standing Committee noted the following six points.
First, we need to make deepening the pharmaceutical and healthcare systems and giving priority to meeting people' s basic medical and health care demand our important task of ensuring and improving their wellbeing, actively yet prudently deal with new situations and problems occurring in medical reforms, and ensure smooth implementation of key reforms, so that the people receive tangible benefits from them.
Second, we need to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of rural migrant workers; work vigorously to provide them with vocational training; and strive to solve practical problems concerning their pay, working conditions, social security, workplace safety and children' s education.
Third, we need to fully implement the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and the central leadership' s policies and measures, particularly the new ones to strongly support the development of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Tibetan ethnic areas in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and increase our support for infrastructure development, development of industries with local advantages, and basic public services in ethnic minority areas to help them achieve leap-frog development.
Fourth, we need to implement the basic state policy of gender equality, safeguard the labor and property rights and interests of women and their personal rights in accordance with the law, promptly adjust the scope of work prohibited for female employees, solve the problem of women's rights and interests being infringed on in rural land contracting, and firmly crack down on crimes involving the trafficking of women and children.
Fifth, we need to further strengthen road traffic safety work, improve regulations and measures, eliminate traffic hazards, intensify supervision of law enforcement, prevent serious traffic accidents, and protect people's lives and property.
Sixth, we need to continue to improve the quality and professional competence of employees of people's courts and procuratorates, improve the mechanisms for doing judicial and procuratorial work, constantly raise the level of the administration of justice, better satisfy people's demands on the judiciary, and effectively safeguard social fairness and justice.
3. We improved our oversight methods, with the focus on getting better results.
Inquiries and interpellations are legal means by which the NPC oversees the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Last year, we focused our inquiries on the central government's final accounts, national food security, and deepening the reform of the pharmaceutical and healthcare systems. We conducted inquiries on these topics at a group meeting, joint group meeting and plenary meeting. These inquiries, which were reported or broadcast live on television and the Internet, attracted widespread attention and won a positive response from the general public, becoming a highlight of the NPC's oversight work. Members of the Standing Committee, relevant NPC special committees and working committees carried out careful investigations and studies and meticulously prepared in advance; the General Office of the Standing Committee strengthened organization, coordination and comprehensive arrangements; and main leaders of the relevant State Council departments solicited comments and realistically and truthfully answered inquiries at the meetings. There was a positive interaction between those who asked questions and those who answered them, thus ensuring the inquiries were successful. Inquiries on special topics have helped the State Council and its departments to improve their work, and also enriched the way the NPC does its oversight work.
Conducting investigations and studies on special topics has been an important way in which the Standing Committee has strengthened its oversight work over the past few years. Last year, we selected 14 topics on formulating the Twelfth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, carried out four-month-long investigations and studies on them and produced a number of insightful and valuable research reports. These reports have provided the central leadership with important reference materials for making policy decisions and for researching and working out the plan, and they have also made necessary preparations for this session to examine and approve the Twelfth Five-Year Plan. In accordance with the guiding principles of the Oversight Law and the Budget Law, we postponed the practice of hearing and deliberating the budget implementation in the first five months of the year in June and rescheduled the hearing for August when we focused on examining the availability and use of funds for expenditures on key areas such as agriculture, education, science and technology, culture, health and social security, as well as the transfer payments from the central to local governments, thereby making the NPC's budget oversight more effective.
III. Successfully doing routine work while focusing on the central tasks of the Standing Committee
1. Deputies played a bigger role.
The Standing Committee steadfastly took handling the proposals and suggestions of deputies as an important link in supporting deputies and ensuring they can exercise their duties in accordance with the law. Through the concerted efforts of all sides, we completed the handling of all 506 proposals made by deputies and referred to us by the Presidium of the Third Session of the Eleventh NPC. Seven laws mentioned in 71 proposals have been adopted by the Standing Committee; we are deliberating a draft law that was brought up in a proposal; and 41 legislative items set forth in 144 proposals have been included in annual or long-term legislative plans. Deputies made 7,590 suggestions, criticisms and comments, of which 76.7% have been resolved or there are plans for resolving them. We have strengthened follow-up oversight of the handling of deputies' suggestions to ensure they are dealt with. We have facilitated the resolution of a number of problems affecting the people's wellbeing, such as how to protect the ecology of grasslands and increase herdsmen's incomes, ensure safe drinking water in Xihaigu, Ningxia, and properly resettle people displaced for ecological reasons, and this work has been acknowledged by deputies. Over the past year, we held nine training sessions attended by over 1,900 deputies, organized more than 1,800 deputies to conduct research on special topics, and invited over 500 deputies to attend meetings of the Standing Committee and NPC special committees as non-voting observers and to participate in Standing Committee investigations of compliance with laws. Deputies who attended the meetings as non-voting observers and took part in other activities carefully prepared in advance, actively contributed to the discussions and fully reported the opinions of the people, thus playing an important role in improving the quality of the work of the Standing Committee.
2. We actively carried out foreign relations work.
We steadfastly complied with and served the country's overall diplomatic objectives, made the most of the characteristics and advantages of the NPC's foreign relations work, developed multilevel friendly contacts with congresses and parliaments of other countries in multiple areas, and made a positive contribution to promoting the overall development of relations between China and other countries. We made steady progress in exchanges with the congresses and parliaments of the United States, Russia and the Republic of Korea as well as the European Parliament under a mechanism of regular exchanges, launched exchanges based on a similar mechanism with the National Assembly of France, and maintained the continuity and stability of exchanges between the NPC and foreign congresses and parliaments concerned. We continued to play a constructive role in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting and other international and regional parliamentary organizations. We actively took part in the preparations for the Third World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, and at the conference we elucidated China' s viewpoints on major issues such as how to help attain the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and achieve the common development of humankind. We not only won the admiration of parliamentary leaders of developing countries, but also played an important role in the conference achieving practical results. We also expounded China's basic views on many occasions, so that the international community can more deeply comprehend China's basic situation and its adherence to scientific development and the path of peaceful development.
3. We strengthened self-improvement.
The Standing Committee continued to give top priority to ideological and political development; maintained the correct political orientation; and became ever more purposeful and resolute in upholding the leadership of the Party, adhering to the socialist system and keeping to the socialist political development path with Chinese characteristics. We diligently implemented the Party's line, principles and policies as well as its major decisions and arrangements. We maintained close ties with the people. We conscientiously held lectures on special topics and earnestly improved our ability to perform duties. We strengthened ties with standing committees of local people's congresses, learned from their good experiences in performing functions in accordance with the law, and worked with them to promote the development of our socialist democratic legal system. Taking into consideration the realities of their work and making use of their respective advantages, the special committees intensively carried out investigations and studies on special topics in various ways, made many good comments and suggestions, and played a very important role in raising the overall quality of the NPC's work and helping to improve the work of those we worked with. Bodies of the NPC actively carried out activities to encourage their Party members to excel in their work, strengthened the ranks of their cadres, and better played their role as collective advisers and assistants and service providers for deputies.
The achievements made by the Standing Committee last year are attributable to the industrious work of NPC deputies, members of the Standing Committee and the special committees, and employees of the NPC bodies under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary; to the concerted efforts of local people's congresses and their standing committees at all levels; to the cooperation of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; and to the full support of the people. On behalf of the Standing Committee, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to them all.
At the same time, we realize that our work needs to be improved in a number of areas. First, we need to further improve services to deputies that are essential for them to carry out their duties. Second, we need to more quickly revise laws, and enact accompanying regulations in particular. And third, we need to focus more on key areas in our oversight work. We need to pay close attention to these problems, listen with an open mind to comments from deputies and adopt effective measures to solve them.
Great Significance and Basic Experiences of Forming a Socialist System of Laws with Chinese Characteristics
Forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics by 2010 was a significant and arduous historical task delegated to us by the Party and the people. Since the founding of New China, especially in the more than 30 years since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy, under the correct leadership of the CPC and through the tireless, concerted efforts of all sides, tremendous achievements have been made in China's legislative work that have attracted the world's attention. The current Constitution was adopted in 1982 and it has been revised four times to adapt to changes in the objective situation. By the end of 2010, China had enacted 236 laws, over 690 administrative regulations and more than 8,600 local statutes that are now in force, and fully completed the work of reviewing current laws, administrative regulations and local statutes. We now have a complete set of types of laws covering all areas of social relations, with basic and major laws of each type already in place, together with comprehensive corresponding administrative regulations and local statutes. Overall, the system of laws is scientific, harmonious and consistent. A socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has been formed which is based on the situation and realities in China; complies with the requirements for reform, opening up and socialist modernization; represents the will of the Party and the people; is rooted in the Constitution; has several types of laws including laws related to the Constitution, civil laws and commercial laws, as its backbone; and has different levels of legal force, reflected in laws, administrative regulations, and local statutes. There are laws to cover every area of economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development in the country. The legislative goal set forth at the Fifteenth National Congress of the CPC of forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics by 2010 was attained on schedule.
Since the second half of last year, we have held three forums on the establishment of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics to look back on the process of establishing the system, discuss its great significance, review our basic experiences, and analyze the current situation and tasks. Participants in these forums all agreed that the establishment of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is a major milestone in the history of the development of China's socialist democratic legal system, is an important indicator of the maturing of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics and has great practical and far-reaching historical significance.
First, the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is the legal foundation for permanently preserving the inherent qualities of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Integrating the basic tenets of Marxism with the realities of China, following our own path, and building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the basic conclusion that the Party has drawn from its historical experiences and is also the only correct road to development and progress for our country. In keeping to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, what is most important is that we maintain the correct political orientation and never waver on major issues of principle such as the fundamental system of the state. If we waver, not only will there be no socialist modernization to speak of, but the achievements gained thus far in development will also be lost, and it is possible that the state could sink into the abyss of internal disorder. The socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, in the form of the Constitution and laws, has established the fundamental system and tasks of the state; the position of leadership of the CPC; the guiding position of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents; the state system - a people' s democratic dictatorship that is led by the working class and based on an alliance of workers and farmers; the system of state power - the system of people's congresses; the system whereby all state power belongs to the people, and citizens enjoy extensive rights and freedoms in accordance with the law; the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC; the system of regional ethnic autonomy and the system of primary-level self-governance; the basic economic system whereby public ownership is dominant and economic entities under diverse forms of ownership develop side by side; and the system whereby distribution according to work is the main form of distribution and multiple forms of distribution coexist. On the basis of China's conditions, we have made a solemn declaration that we will not employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation; diversify our guiding thought; separate executive, legislative and judicial powers; use a bicameral or federal system; or carry out privatization. Forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has laid a firm legal foundation for national revitalization and prosperity, and lasting peace and stability. It institutionally and legally ensures that the CPC is always the core of the leadership for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and that all state power is firmly in the hands of the people. It ensures national independence, state sovereignty and territorial integrity. It ensures national unity, social stability and ethnic solidarity. It ensures adherence to an independent foreign policy of peace and the path of peaceful development. And it ensures that the country always forges ahead in the correct orientation of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Second, the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is a legal system that embodies the innovations and praxes of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Reform and opening up were a crucial choice made by the people of all our ethnic groups under the leadership of the Party that has determined the destiny of contemporary China. They are the route we must take to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and they have given socialism new vitality. For more than 30 years, we have remained committed to the central task of economic development, comprehensively advanced reform and opening up, and successfully achieved the great historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a dynamic socialist market economy, and from isolation and semi-isolation to being fully open to the outside world. We have greatly mobilized the enthusiasm of hundreds of millions of people and immensely liberated and developed the productive forces, and our country has sustained rapid development at a speed that has rarely occurred in the world. We have elevated our experiences of reform and opening up and socialist modernization into law in a timely manner. We have kept up with the new situations and issues arising in the process of reform and opening up, and formulated and improved laws and institutions conducive to promoting the transformation of the pattern of economic development, law-based administration and impartial justice, social development with a focus on ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing, tremendous development and prosperity of socialist culture, and harmonious coexistence between man and nature, thereby getting law to fully play its role in standardizing, guiding, protecting and promoting reform, opening up and socialist modernization. The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics provides institutional and legal guarantees that the country always maintains the correct orientation of reform and opening up; puts great effort into building systems and mechanisms that are dynamic, highly efficient, more open and conducive to scientific development; and promotes the sustained self-improvement and self-development of China' s socialist system.
Third, the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is a legal guarantee for the prosperity and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Achieving modernization has been the great vision and constant goal of generations of Chinese people. Since the reform and opening up policy was adopted over 30 years ago, we have blazed the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and formed a socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics. This is the fundamental reason underlying all the achievements and progress we have made. We will always hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and concentrate our energy and efforts on development, and we will not cower before any risks or be deterred by any interference. We will have attained the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, and we will have basically achieved modernization by the middle of this century. The achievements we have already made would not have been possible without legal guarantees, and we cannot build the more beautiful future we are striving to create without legal guarantees either. The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has brought the development of all the country's undertakings within the framework of law and provided the institutional and legal basis for solving fundamental, overarching and long-term issues concerning our national development as well as the issue of stability. It has identified clear values as well as the orientation and fundamental path for constantly improving the socialist market economy, intensively developing socialist democratic politics, making socialist advanced culture increasingly flourish and building a harmonious socialist society. And it has laid a firm legal foundation for building a prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country, and for achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is a major accomplishment made by hundreds of millions of Chinese people under the leadership of the Party in developing socialist democracy and improving the socialist legal system.
The first generation of the Party's central collective leadership, with Comrade Mao Zedong at its core, led the people of all our ethnic groups in founding the People's Republic of China after a protracted and bloody struggle and formulating the Common Program and the first Constitution of New China, which created the basic state system, thereby establishing the fundamental political preconditions and institutional basis for developing a socialist democratic legal system and establishing the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.
The second generation of the Party's central collective leadership, with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at its core, drew profound painful lessons from the Cultural Revolution and, when it made the historic decision to shift the focus of the work of the Party and the country to economic development and carry out reform and opening up, it adopted the strengthening of the socialist democratic legal system as an unshakable principle. This collective leadership emphasized the need for socialist democracy to be institutionalized and codified in order to ensure that institutions and laws do not change whenever leaders change, or whenever leaders change their views or shift their focus of attention. It stressed the need for there to be laws for people to follow, that they are observed and strictly enforced, and that lawbreakers are prosecuted. This ushered in a new era of dynamic development for the socialist democratic legal system.
The third generation of the Party's central collective leadership, with Comrade Jiang Zemin at its core, led the people of all our ethnic groups in successfully advancing the great cause of reform and opening up into the 21st century, and constantly enriched and developed the thinking underlying the socialist democratic legal system with Chinese characteristics. For the first time, they took the rule of law as the basic strategy for the Party to lead the people in governing the country, considered building a socialist country based on the rule of law to be an important part of socialist modernization, and set the clear legislative goal of forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics by 2010. All this marked the beginning of a new phase in the development of the socialist democratic legal system.
Since the 16th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, has carried the cause forward into the future, kept up with the times, unwaveringly pushed forward the great cause of reform and opening up in the course of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and put forward the important strategic thought of the Scientific Outlook on Development and the major strategic task of building a harmonious socialist society. The Central Committee has fully implemented the rule of law as the basic strategy and stressed that what is most fundamental in developing socialist democratic politics is intimately integrating the leadership of the Party, the people's position as masters of the country and the rule of law. In doing so, it has opened up new horizons for the development of a socialist democratic legal system.
The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is the result of prolonged collective efforts on everyone's part. The NPC and its Standing Committee have conscientiously fulfilled the duties bestowed upon them by the Constitution and laws, constantly strengthened and improved legislative work, done all in their power to raise the quality of legislation, and accomplished a huge amount of effective work to form a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. The State Council, in response to needs arising from carrying out economic and social development and implementing laws, has promptly formulated administrative regulations in accordance with the law. Local people's congresses and their standing committees, based on their local realities, have enacted a large number of local statutes in accordance with the law and made important contributions to forming the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. Local people's governments, people's courts and people's procuratorates at all levels; the army; the people; and experts and scholars have all vigorously supported and played an active role in legislative work, and contributed their wisdom and strength to establishing the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.
Over the past 30 plus years of reform and opening up, we have successfully taken a path of legislation with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee. We have intimately integrated the leadership of the Party, the people's position as masters of their country and the rule of law, and carried out legislative work in a planned, focused and step-by-step manner, with our attention firmly fixed on the overall work of the Party and country. In just a few decades, we have formed a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. Such an arduous legislative task has rarely been seen in the world, and we have overcome unprecedented difficulties in the process. These accomplishments were not easy to come by, but the experiences gained are invaluable. Our five most significant experiences were as follows.
1. We upheld the CPC's leadership.
The leadership of the CPC is the fundamental guarantee for ensuring that the people are masters of their country, following the rule of law, strengthening the democratic legal system, and doing legislative work well. The CPC represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, and the principles and policies formulated by the Party and its legislative proposals pool the collective wisdom of the whole Party and country and embody the common will of the overwhelming majority of the people. Upholding the leadership of the Party is entirely the same as subordinating oneself to the interests of the people. We upheld the leadership of the Party throughout our legislative work and ensured that through legal procedures, the views of the Party become the will of the state as well as the standards and norms of conduct the whole society abides by. We worked to provide an institutional and legal guarantee that the line, policies and principles of the Party are implemented and that reform, opening up and socialist modernization proceed smoothly. With our focus firmly on the central task of the Party and country, we made overall plans for legislative work, scientifically formulated legislative programs and plans, and actively advanced key legislative projects to ensure that major decisions and arrangements of the Party and government are carried out. We also promptly reported to the CPC Central Committee major and difficult legislative problems we encountered. In short, all of our laws and regulations were enacted under the leadership of the Party, and all the laws and regulations that we enact must be conducive to strengthening and improving the leadership of the Party, consolidating and improving the Party' s governing status, and ensuring that the Party leads the people in effectively governing the country.
2. We continued to be guided by the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics.
Adhering to the correct guiding thought is a fundamental prerequisite for strengthening the democratic legal system and doing our legislative work well. The socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics is a scientific theoretical system which includes major strategic thinking such as Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It is the latest achievement in Sinicizing Marxism, and the most valuable political and intellectual wealth of our Party. It is the common ideological foundation upon which the people of all our ethnic groups work in unity, the guiding thought we must adhere to for a long time to come, and a fundamental guideline for success in all our work. Throughout our legislative work, we have always adhered to the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics as our guide, and used it to unify our thinking and determine a line of thought for legislation. Our guiding thought for legislation has been to always integrate upholding the Four Cardinal Principles with adhering to the reform and opening up policy, adhering to the basic socialist system with developing the market economy, spurring transformation of the economic base with spurring reform of the superstructure, increasing efficiency with promoting social equity, promoting reform and development with maintaining social stability, and maintaining our independence with participating in economic globalization; and to ensure that the laws and regulations we enact are conducive to consolidating and improving the socialist system, liberating and developing the productive forces, and making the most of the advantages of the socialist system.
3. We steadfastly proceeded from China's conditions and realities.
Steadfastly proceeding from China's conditions and realities is an objective requirement for strengthening the democratic legal system and doing our legislative work well. Throughout our legislative work, we have always proceeded from China's conditions and realities; taken the great praxes of reform, opening up and socialist modernization as the foundation for legislation; and done our legislative work with our attention firmly on the central task of economic development, on the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and on promoting scientific development and facilitating social harmony. We correctly balanced reform, development and stability; properly balanced the stability of law and the changeability of practice and the progressiveness and feasibility of laws; and ensured that the legislative process is in line with the processes of reform, opening up and socialist modernization. In areas where we have abundant practical experience and consensus among all parties, we have made laws more specific so that they are more practicable. In areas where we have little practical experience but in reality laws are needed to impose standards, we have made laws more general in order to provide standards and guarantees for guiding practice while leaving room to deepen reforms and to revise and supplement the laws when the conditions are ripe. For new situations and problems that we have encountered during reform and opening up, and for which the conditions do not now exist for standardizing them by means of law, we have formulated administrative regulations and local statutes on the basis of our statutory limits of authority. After implementing them on a trial basis, we will enact laws when we have sufficient experience and ripe conditions. We have also attached importance to learning from foreign legislative experience in order to absorb elements that are beneficial and useful for us; but we never blindly follow or imitate others. Different countries have different systems of laws, and we do not copy the systems of laws of certain Western countries when enacting the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. We do not enact laws that exist in foreign systems of laws but that do not suit China' s conditions and realities. We do promptly formulate laws that do not exist in foreign systems of laws but that are needed for real life in China.
4. We steadfastly put people first and legislated for the people.
Steadfastly putting people first and legislating for the people is the fundamental purpose of strengthening the democratic legal system and doing legislative work well. Throughout our legislative work, we have made serving, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people our starting point and objective. In both the process of enacting laws and in the norms established through their enactment, we have always put people first, respected the important position of the people and their pioneering spirit, derived wisdom from their practices and innovativeness, and drawn motivation from their demands for development. We have properly balanced the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, the common interests of the masses at the current stage, and the particular interests of different groups. We have correctly reflected and accommodated the interests of different groups and focused on solving practical problems that the people are most concerned about and that affect them most directly. We have correctly handled the relation between authority and rights and between power and responsibility. We have bestowed the necessary powers on administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs, and paid attention to standardizing, constraining and overseeing the exercise of power in order to earnestly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and organizations. We have adhered to the mass line; made our legislative work scientific and democratic; gotten NPC deputies to fully play their role in legislation; constantly expanded the orderly participation of citizens in legislation; and solicited the opinions of all sides, particularly the masses at the primary level, by making drafts of laws and regulations available to the public and holding legislation forums, debates and hearings. In this way, we have genuinely ensured that we have pooled the wisdom of all sides and consolidated consensus, so that the laws and regulations we have enacted fully embody the common will of the people.
5. We maintained the unity of the socialist legal system.
Maintaining the unity of the socialist legal system is an inherent requirement for strengthening the democratic legal system and doing legislative work well. China is a unified multiethnic socialist country. The unity of its socialist legal system is the foundation for safeguarding national unity, ethnic solidarity and social stability, and establishing a unified modern market system. At the same time, China is a large country; economic, cultural and social development varies greatly between regions; and the country is in the midst of profound changes. These basic national conditions determine that China implements a unified but tiered legislative system. We have always upheld the authoritative position of the Constitution as the country' s fundamental law, and carried out legislative work in strict compliance with our statutory limits of authority and statutorily specified procedures. While enacting laws and regulations, we also carried out a concentrated review of existing laws and regulations, and strengthened the filing and examination of normative documents. In this way, we have ensured that laws, administrative regulations and local statutes do not conflict with the Constitution; administrative regulations do not conflict with laws; local statutes do not conflict with laws and administrative regulations; and provisions of laws and regulations are connected and coordinated and do not contradict each other, thereby guaranteeing the unity of the socialist legal system.
The vitality of laws lies in their enforcement. The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has generally solved the problem of having laws for people to follow. In these circumstances, the problem of ensuring that laws are observed and strictly enforced and that lawbreakers are prosecuted has become more pronounced and pressing. This is also an issue the masses have shown interest in and which has generated strong reactions from all sides. Therefore, as we continue to strengthen legislative work, we need to take active and effective measures to genuinely guarantee the effective enforcement of the Constitution and laws. First, we need to uphold their authority and dignity. All state organs, armed forces, political parties, mass organizations, enterprises and institutions must abide by them. No organization or individual has any privileges that transcend them, and all violations of the Constitution and laws must be prosecuted. Second, we need to adhere to law-based administration and judicial justice. State administrative organs must perform their duties in strict compliance with statutory authority and procedures, and accelerate the development of law-based government. State judicial and procuratorial organs must exercise their judicial and procuratorial powers in an independent and just manner, and uphold social equity and justice. Third, we need to enhance the awareness of laws and the rule of law across society. We need to get leading cadres at all levels and employees of state organs to take the lead in following the Constitution and laws, and become good at using the law to solve practical issues in real life. We need to assist the masses in learning to express their demands and solve problems and disputes in accordance with the law and legal procedures, and to use the law to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests. The NPC and its Standing Committee need to exercise, in accordance with the law, their important power of overseeing the enforcement of the Constitution and laws, and local people' s congresses at all levels and their standing committees need to fulfill, in accordance with the law, their important duty of ensuring that the Constitution, laws and administrative regulations are observed and enforced in their respective administrative regions in order to guarantee that all state organs truly use the powers bestowed upon them by the people for the benefit of the people.
Major Tasks for 2011
In 2011, the first year of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period and the year that we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, the general requirements for the work of the NPC Standing Committee are: We must fully implement the guiding principles of the Seventeenth National Congress of the CPC, the Fifth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee and the Fourth Session of the Eleventh NPC; take Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as our guide; thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development; intimately integrate the Party's leadership, the people's position as masters of the country and the rule of law; focus on the overall work of the Party and the country in carrying out our functions and powers in accordance with the law; make full use of the role of deputies; maintain close contact with the people; further strengthen and improve our legislative work from a new starting point; constantly improve the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics; further strengthen and improve our oversight work in the new circumstances; give impetus to the implementation of the major decisions and arrangements of the Central Committee; strive to initiate a new phase in the work of the NPC; and make new contributions to ensuring that economic and social development in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period is off to a good start and ensuring social harmony and stability.
I. Continuing to strengthen our legislative work from a new starting point
The formation of a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics marks a new starting point for China's legislative work. Social praxis is the foundation of laws, and laws encapsulate practical experience. Social praxis is endless and legislative work should also constantly move forward. Building socialism with Chinese characteristics is a long-term historic task. Improving the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is also a long-term historic task, and it must develop as the praxis of socialism with Chinese characteristics develops. Furthermore, the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics is not static, closed or fixed, but rather, dynamic, open and developing. We must also note that, although our system of laws has already been formed, it is not perfect or flawless: some existing laws need to be revised, some accompanying regulations urgently need to be enacted, and a few laws have yet to be introduced. The main reasons for this are that the legislative conditions for these laws are not ripe and no consensus on the relevant matters has been reached, so we must continue to explore and accumulate more experiences through praxis. In short, new changes in the domestic and international situations, new praxis of reform and opening up, new tasks of economic and social development, and new expectations of the people constantly present new tasks and requirements for our legislative work. Our legislative tasks are still painstaking and arduous, and legislative work can only get stronger and not weaker. For some time to come, we will devote more energy to revising and improving laws, and enacting accompanying regulations. At the same time, we still need to enact a number of new laws in order to ensure that the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics keeps up with the times, develops and improves. The NPC and its Standing Committee need to fully play their role as the country's highest organs of state power, exercise state legislative power in accordance with the law, make legislative work more organized and coordinated, urge relevant departments to earnestly study and solve major problems involved in legislation, improve the mechanisms of legislative work, strengthen legislative bodies and improve the competence of legislators, and initiate a new phase of our legislative work from a new starting point.
The legislative work of the Standing Committee this year is to promptly revise laws that are not compatible with economic and social development, and enact in a timely manner laws that are vital for pushing forward scientific development and promoting social harmony in accordance with the overall requirements for improving the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. First, we will revise the Budget Law, the Law Concerning the Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases, the Criminal Procedure Law, the Civil Procedure Law, the Organic Law of Local Governments, and the Military Service Law. Second, we will enact the Law on Mental Health, the Law on Administrative Coercion, and the Law on Entry and Exit Administration. Third, we will urge relevant departments to promptly enact accompanying regulations, and do the follow-up work of reviewing laws and regulations well, with the focus on urging and guiding the Supreme People' s Court and the Supreme People' s Procuratorate to complete the concentrated review of judicial interpretations currently in force.
We will enact legislation in a thoroughly scientific and democratic manner. We will use the evaluation of enacted legislation as a new measure to strengthen and improve legislative work, carry out such evaluations in an orderly manner and in various ways based on a review of the experiences gained through pilot programs, and objectively evaluate how scientific the system of laws is, how practicable laws and regulations are, and how effectively laws are implemented in order to provide an important basis for revising and improving laws and improving legislative work. We will improve the work mechanism by means of which deputies participate in legislation, integrate the work of handling bills and proposals from deputies with the work of enacting and revising laws, invite deputies to participate in the Standing Committee's activities for improving the quality of the drafting of laws and the quality of deliberation, conscientiously study and absorb comments and suggestions from deputies, and have them fully play their role in legislative work. We will actively explore ways and means for the orderly participation of citizens in legislation; widely solicit opinions from all sectors of society, particularly from the masses at the primary level; earnestly solicit the suggestions of experts and scholars; establish a sound feedback mechanism for recommendations from the general public; actively respond to social concerns; and take new steps in making legislation scientific and democratic.
II. Continuing to strengthen oversight work in the new circumstances
During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period, enormous new achievements were made in reform, opening up and socialist modernization. China's economic strength and overall strength and the people's standard of living all reached new heights, marking a new starting point for all of China's undertakings. At the Fifth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth Central Committee, the Central Committee thoroughly analyzed the international and domestic situations in the coming period, and made the important judgment that our country's development is still in an important period of strategic opportunities during which China can accomplish much. The Central Committee also decided upon the guiding thought, general philosophy, objectives, tasks and major measures for economic and social development in the coming five years. It also emphasized the need to make scientific development our theme and accelerating the transformation of the pattern of economic development our main thread, make significant progress in promoting scientific development, and make substantial progress in transforming the pattern of economic development. This has set new and higher requirements for doing the NPC's oversight work well in the new circumstances.
This year, the Standing Committee's oversight work will firmly focus on the implementation of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan approved at this session, continue to strengthen the oversight of law enforcement and work performance in accordance with the provisions of the Oversight Law, carry out oversight in a variety of ways, concentrate oversight more on matters concerning the country's overall interests and the people's wellbeing, and obtain more tangible results from the NPC's oversight work. First, we will listen to and deliberate the reports on the implementation of the plan and budgets as well as on the central government' s final accounts and auditing work, and examine and approve the 2010 final accounts of the central government; focus on examining the implementation of a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy as well as the efforts to stabilize prices and curb the excessively rapid rise of housing prices in some cities; conduct research on how to guard against local government debt risks and how to set up a sound mechanism for ensuring basic funding for county-level governments; and press ahead with implementation of the central government's macro-control policies as well as measures for reforming key sectors in order to promote steady and rapid economic development. Second, we will listen to and deliberate the State Council's reports on its work concerning accelerating the transformation of the pattern of economic development, environmental protection, reform of the tenure of collective forests and developing the tourism industry; investigate compliance with the Law on Rural Land Contracts; carry out investigations and studies on promoting economic and social development in ethnic minority areas; and urge relevant parties to implement the Scientific Outlook on Development with specific measures in practical work. Third, we will listen to and deliberate the State Council's reports on building low-income housing, implementing the National Medium- and Long-Term Plan for Education Reform and Development, and fire prevention; investigate compliance with the Law on Food Safety, the Labor Contract Law, the Law Guaranteeing the Rights and Interests of Senior Citizens and other laws; and urge relevant parties to effectively solve problems of the utmost concern to ordinary people such as adequate housing, schooling for children, employment, and the protection of workers' rights and interests. Fourth, we will listen to and deliberate reports of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on strengthening primary-level work in order to solve prominent problems restricting improvement of judicial competence at the primary level, strengthen their management and competence, and promote judicial justice. Fifth, we will listen to and deliberate the State Council's report on the implementation of the fifth five-year plan for spreading general knowledge of the law among the people, adopt a resolution for implementing the sixth five-year plan for this purpose, identify the priorities in this effort and promote the formation of a good social environment in which the people conscientiously study, abide by and apply the law.
Appropriately adjusting income distribution is a problem of common concern to the people and NPC deputies, and it is also a problem we must solve in order to transform the pattern of economic development. As this problem involves both the primary distribution and redistribution of national income, it is a task that is both arduous and urgent. The Standing Committee will address this issue with its focus on intensifying investigations and studies on raising the proportion of national income that goes to individuals, raising the proportion of workers' wages in the primary distribution, standardizing income distribution, strengthening the role of taxation in adjusting incomes, and reversing the widening income disparity. When conditions are ripe, we will make arrangements to listen to and deliberate the State Council's work report on this issue. We will continue to carry out special inquiries in accordance with the law on low-income housing, government budgets, education reform, and strengthening primary-level courts and procuratorates; deliberate the work reports of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; and give impetus to relevant departments to improve their work.
III. Making new progress in fully utilizing the role of deputies, developing foreign contacts and intensifying self-improvement efforts
We need to take advantage of the opportunity created by implementing the revised Law on Deputies to People's Congress, take upholding and improving the system of people's congresses as our starting point, steadfastly respect the principal position of deputies, maintain an attitude of serving them, and strive to improve the level of our work for them. We will diligently handle bills and proposals submitted to this session by deputies; further improve the quality of the handling of them, strengthen deputies' investigations and studies of special issues and their inspection tours; improve the way they carry out activities; well organize studies for them on matters relating to their duties; invite them to participate in activities of the Standing Committee and special committees; and get them to better play their role in supervising state affairs.
With the focus on consolidating and improving the NPC's mechanisms for regular exchanges with foreign congresses and parliaments, we need to extensively develop friendly contacts with them; actively participate in the activities of international and regional parliamentary organizations; make full use of the unique role of the NPC's foreign contacts in enhancing mutual political trust, deepening friendship with other peoples, developing pragmatic cooperation, and promoting the development of state-to-state relations; and make new contributions to safeguarding the important period of strategic opportunities for China's development.
We need to concentrate on adhering to the correct political orientation, further intensify the Standing Committee's self-development, and unswervingly uphold the leadership of the Party, the socialist system and the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics. We will improve our organizational and work systems, become better able to fulfill our duties, conscientiously present lectures on special topics, carry out thorough investigations and studies, and forge close ties with the people. We will make full use of the special committees' capable personnel, dense knowledge, wealth of experience and other features and strengths, and further improve the overall quality and level of the Standing Committee's work. We will widely publicize the great significance and basic experience of forming a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, strengthen and improve publicity and reportage work, increase the transparency of the NPC's work, and willingly accept oversight by deputies and the people. We will strengthen our relationship with standing committees of local people's congresses, learn from their good work methods and work experiences, and push forward the socialist democratic legal system together. Agencies of the NPC should intensify the campaign to encourage their Party members to excel in their work, improve the overall quality and capabilities of their cadres and other employees, provide good services, and serve as good advisors and assistants.
According to the Decision on Revising the Electoral Law of the National People's Congress and Local People's Congresses, passed at the Third Session of the Eleventh NPC, deputies to people's congresses are to be elected based on the same population ratio in both urban and rural areas. This more fully embodies the principle that all people, regions and ethnic groups are equal. This year, elections of new county and township people's congresses will take place across the country. These will be the first elections carried out in accordance with the revised Electoral Law, and there will be new changes to deputy quotas, the organization of election work and other areas. All of this imposes new requirements for doing election work well. Based on careful investigations and studies, the Standing Committee put forward guidelines on doing a good job in the election of new county and township people's congresses across the country and on deputy quotas. We will resolutely implement the unified arrangements of the central leadership; intimately integrate the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law; give full play to democracy; act strictly in accordance with the law; and ensure that the election of the new county and township people's congresses proceeds smoothly and that outstanding people who strictly obey the Constitution and laws, forge close ties with the masses, strive to serve the people, and are trusted by the masses are selected to be members of agencies of state power. In this way, we will provide a firm organizational guarantee for upholding and improving the system of people's congresses and developing socialist democratic politics.
The mission that history has assigned to us is glorious yet arduous, and the people have high and ardent expectations of us. Let us rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implement the Scientific Outlook on Development, work energetically, press ahead resolutely, work diligently, greet the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC with outstanding achievements, and strive to get economic and social development off to a good start in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period and achieve new successes in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.