The largest amendments to China's 1982 Constitution will go under the spotlight of the National People's Congress (NPC) next year.
Some 2,900 deputies are expected to participate in the Second Plenary Session of the 10th NPC from March 5, 2004.
The deputies will deliberate draft constitutional amendments unanimously passed by the 10th NPC Standing Committee over the weekend.
This will be the fourth amendments of China's 1982 Constitution. The previous three were approved in 1988, 1993 and 1999.
The draft amendments, covering the preamble and 12 articles, are the most extensive so far. They include stipulations on the protection of human rights, private property rights and the establishment of national social security institutions.
Top legislator Wu Bangguo said the amendments reflect a common aspiration of the people to incorporate mature theories and practices into the Constitution.
The Constitution should be amended under strict legal procedures and legislators should collect more opinions from the people and further promote constitutional knowledge, said Wu, chairman of the 10th NPC Standing Committee.
The NPC deputies will also review reports on the work of the government, national economic and social development plan, central and local budgets, as well as reports by the chairman of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, the top judge and the top procurator.
While the constitutional amendments marked the highlight of the weekend's 10th NPC Standing Committee meeting, other issues ranging from corruption to banking were also on the agenda.
Two deputies to the 10th NPC were fired following bribery charges.
Chen Mansheng, a deputy from Central China's Hunan Province, was dismissed for alleged bribery during an election.
Yan Liangzhong, a deputy from Southwest China's Sichuan Province, was dismissed for allegedly taking bribes.
The lawmakers also passed the Law on Banking Supervision and amendments to the Law on the People's Bank of China and the Law on Commercial Banks.
Under the new legislation, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) is authorized to oversee all banks and financial institutions in China, investigate illegal banking operations, and render punishments for violations. The commission was set up in April this year, to replace the People's Bank of China, the central bank, as the country's banking watchdog.