Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, March 02, 2003

From Party Congress Guidelines to Will of State

The First Session of China's 10th National People's Congress, due to open in Beijing on March 5, is convened nearly four months after the 16th National Congress of the leading Communist Party of China (CPC) and has been drawing worldwide attention for its political significance.


The First Session of China's 10th National People's Congress, due to open in Beijing on March 5, is convened nearly four months after the 16th National Congress of the leading Communist Party of China (CPC) and has been drawing worldwide attention for its political significance.

"The meeting will turn the guidelines of the Party Congress into the will of the state and of the people through legal procedures," said a Beijing-based political analyst.

The 16th CPC National Congress has set the goal of "building a well-off society in an all-round way" in China and outlined major tasks for the country's economic reform and development in the first 20 years of the 21st century.

"Now every Chinese is looking forward to see what new policies and concrete measures are expected to be set forth by the central government during the imminent NPC session, to help the national economy maintain a sustained, rapid and sound growth and usher in a good start for the Party's ambitious goal," said the analyst.

It is also widely expected that this year's NPC session will witness the largest leadership transition of China's top state power organs in scale over a decade.

The CPC had accomplished a smooth power transition at its 16th National Congress, as a new generation of leaders with Hu Jintao as the general secretary took over the helm of the Party's central committee.

From candidates recommended by the CPC Central Committee, the NPC session will elect China's new state president and vice-president, chairmen of the state Central Military Commission, the NPC Standing Committee and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), president of the Supreme People's Court and procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Moreover, the session will have a final say on the formation of a new Chinese cabinet and who will be the State Council premier, though the candidates are to be nominated by the state president.

At a recent meeting with non-Communist personalities, Party General Secretary Hu Jintao had remarked that the candidates' proposed list presented by the CPC Central Committee to the upcoming NPC session was the outcome of "repeated consultations and serious discussions" and was based on the "full exercise of democracy".

Although the details of the proposed list is yet to be known, observers here hold that China's new generation of state leaders, in the prime of their life, energetic and competent, have notable technical background and rich experience for running the state. They will also adhere to the guiding ideology of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, and unswervingly pursue the course of reform and opening-up.

Also on the agenda of this year's NPC session is the deliberation and approval of a draft plan for a new round of institutional reform of the State Council. This reform is expected to further cut the number of ministries and commissions under the State Council, now standing at 29, is regarded as another major step China will take to "push forward political restructuring in an active yet steady manner".

The State Council used to have as numerous as 86 ministries and departments under its direct command and jurisdiction in the early1990s, prompting top Chinese authorities to launch two rounds of government downsizing in 1993 and 1998.

The 16th CPC Central Committee, at its second plenum held in Beijing earlier this week, had called the institutional reform "an essential part of the Party's endeavor to make China's superstructure more compatible with the country's economic base", as well as "the need of the establishment of a socialist market economic system".

After its restructuring plan gets the NPC approval, the new Chinese cabinet is expected to go on improving its art of governance and work harder still for building a standardized, well-coordinated, clean and fair government with greater transparency and higher efficiency, said the Party Central Committee.

There will be no enactment or amendment of laws during this year's NPC session. However, no one would deny that the NPC and its Standing Committee have scored remarkable accomplishments in its legislative work over the past years.

Statistics show that the Ninth NPC and its Standing Committee, whose five-year term will expire at the coming session, have deliberated and enacted a total of 112 laws, laying a solid foundation for the attainment of the goal to "establish a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics by year 2010" set by last year's Party Congress.

According to the Chinese Constitution, the NPC is the country's top legislature body, which wields paramount state power. All deputies to the NPC are elected from grassroots communities and they represent the entire Chinese people. The 10th NPC has a total of 2,984 deputies.

Political analysts here predict that during the imminent NPC session, such heated issues like employment, farmers' life and welfare, industrial safety, development of China's western hinterland, environmental protection, the fight against corruption, reform of state-owned enterprises, public security and supervision on law enforcement personnel will become the focuses of concern for both NPC lawmakers and the general public.

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