The Standing Committee sent the group investigating compliance with the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Returned Overseas Chinese and Their Relatives to six provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. There they held forums for returned overseas Chinese and their relatives, overseas Chinese nationals, returned overseas Chinese deputies to people's congresses, members of the Returned Overseas Chinese Federation in the CPPCC and leaders of departments concerned with overseas Chinese affairs. They also visited some farms run by overseas Chinese, enterprises funded by overseas Chinese and the homes of some returned overseas Chinese, where they gathered a great deal of firsthand information. Through this investigation they learned that farms run by overseas Chinese face two types of difficulties. First, many of the farms are running in the red and are not able to pay wages, pensions, medical bills and social security contributions, and their employee wages are lower than the net incomes of local farmers. Second, a great number of structures are dilapidated and badly in need of repair, and there is a fair amount of outstanding debt owed on infrastructure such as transportation, water supply and electricity supply. In addressing these problems, the investigating group worked out a report and recommended, "All employee wages, pension payments, medical bills and social security contributions in arrears owed by farms run by overseas Chinese should be cleared up within two years. The problems of dilapidated structures, infrastructure development and land-use rights on these farms should be solved in three to five years." The State Council views this as an important issue, and set up a special study on promoting reform and development of such farms. Concerned departments of the State Council carefully carried out investigations and studies, took vigorous measures and diligently acted on the comments and suggestions of the Standing Committee, with good results.
One important power of the Standing Committee is the duty to oversee budgetary and economic work. The Standing Committee listened to, deliberated and approved the final budget of the central government, the auditing work report and the report on implementing the plan, and deliberated and approved the 2005 central government final budget. It also heard, deliberated and approved the report of the State Council on reforming state-owned commercial banks to convert them into stock companies and deepening reform of the financial system. Everyone on the Standing Committee expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the plan for national economic and social development and affirmed the public finance, banking and accounting work. In addition, a number of suggestions were introduced on how to standardize budget compilation work, improve the system of government transfer payments, strictly implement the budget, strengthen auditing oversight, resolutely curb overheated growth of investment, intensify efforts to save energy, lower consumption and protect the environment, and pay more attention to social development and solving problems to improve people's well-being. The State Council sent a report to the Standing Committee last December on the use of surplus revenue over the budget target and on progress in correcting problems uncovered in auditing.
The filing and inspection of regulatory documents is an important aspect of the oversight work of the Standing Committee. We carefully handle the suggestions of individuals and organizations that are made during inspection and conduct focused inspections on our own initiative to safeguard consistency in the country's legal system. The Standing Committee pays close attention to petitions submitted through letters and visits from the general public. More than 150,000 letters were received from the public in 2006 and over 75,000 visits were recorded. For problems that occurred frequently, such as legal and judicial issues, land expropriation and requisition, relocation of people to build reservoirs, housing demolition, medical care, education, social security and environmental protection, we increased efforts to refer problems to concerned organizations for them to address and followed up on how they were handled, urged these organizations to handle problems in accordance with the law and government policy, and helped solve some of the problems reflected in the letters and visits, thus playing a positive role in solving problems in society and promoting social harmony.
III. Work related to you reached a new high.
The Standing Committee conscientiously implemented the guiding principles of Decree No. 9 issued by the Central Committee in 2005 by formulating a set of regulations for supporting and ensuring the lawful execution of your duties. This will not only give more play to your role but also ensure that the work of the Standing Committee remains full of life. (More)
1. We carefully handled your proposals. During the Fourth Session of the Tenth NPC last year, you submitted 1,006 bills and the presidium referred them to seven special committees for deliberation. The concerned special committees conducted in-depth investigations and listened to the opinions you expressed in letters, phone calls, personal visits or forums. Those of you responsible for submitting some proposals were also invited to participate in preparatory work, formulation and deliberation for the draft law related to the bill they submitted. For example, the revised Law on the Protection of Minors incorporated your comments such as how to keep harmful information on the Internet away from minors, how to protect the legitimate rights and interests of rural children left behind when their parents go to the city to work and how to improve the safety of school grounds. Many of the 1,006 bills aided in formulation of legislation. Ten laws were deliberated and passed by the Standing Committee related to 100 of the bills, 7 draft laws related to 26 bills were submitted to the Standing Committee for deliberation, and another 51 legislative items related to 358 bills were included in the schedule for legislation work or the annual plan. Some other bills were referred to the State Council for study in order to formulate related administrative regulations. Explanations were made about your bills that called for legislation where conditions are not yet ripe. The reports submitted by relevant special committees on the results of their deliberation of your bills were deliberated and approved at the meeting of the Standing Committee and printed and distributed to all of you.
2. We actively dealt with your suggestions. During the Fourth Session of the Tenth NPC you submitted 6,511 suggestions, and these were referred to 174 organizations to study and process. With the concerted efforts of everyone involved, 1,810 or 28% of the problems reflected in your suggestions have already been solved or are being addressed, and solutions have been found or work plans drawn up for 3,148 problems, or 48% of the total. Both figures were higher than the previous year. All the organizations processing the suggestions placed great value on the work. Even their top leaders became personally involved, maintained good communications with you and, strengthened their follow-up efforts.The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and 12 departments of the State Council, including the National Development and Reform Commission, reported to the Standing Committee in writing on the handling of your suggestions. Last year the Ministry of Water Resources handled all the 194 suggestions it was given and wrote a reply to you for each and every one of them. Working with other relevant departments, the Ministry of Water Resources did a great deal of work to solve the problem of inadequate safe water supplies in the dry rural areas of central Ningxia, a problem raised by the region's delegation of NPC deputies. The Ministry set up a special fund for water to meet the emergency needs during the drought and to ensure safe water supplies for 250,000 local people and made plans to develop enough safe water supplies within three years or so to basically solve the problem of inadequate safe water supply for 540,000 rural residents in Ningxia. The Ministry formulated a plan to solve the problem raised by the Macao delegation concerning the effect of the salt tide on water supplies in the region. Beginning last September, emergency measures have been taken to curb the salt tide during the dry season to ensure that Macao residents can drink clean water.
3. We expanded your participation in the activities of the Standing Committee. The number of NPC deputies invited to the meetings of the Standing Committee as non-voting participants increased from 140-some to 185, and the number of deputies who participated in law compliance inspections and legislation-related investigations rose from nearly 400 to more than 500. Agendas, relevant documents and reference materials for the meetings were sent to the non-voting deputies in a timely manner. The Standing Committee held a forum for invited deputies before it met to brief them on its work, explain bills and listen to the comments and suggestions of the deputies concerning its work. Those of you who were invited to attend meetings and participate in activities carefully prepared before the events and were enthusiastic about speaking at the meetings, greatly contributing to the Standing Committee's work.
4. We improved the organization of activities and services for you. We improved organization and services for your investigations and studies on special topics. You were free to form investigating groups on your own, chose your topics based on actual conditions, much better focused your investigations and studies and made them much more effective. All this played an important role in raising the quality of your bills and proposals. Statistics show that 1,
874 of you, 63% of all NPC deputies, participated in special topic investigations and studies last year, nearly 10 percentage points higher than the previous year, and your investigations resulted in 183 reports. We organized you on inspection tours centered on the building of a harmonious socialist society and arranged for those of you representing Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan to make inspection and research tours in Anhui, Hubei, Xinjiang and Jiangsu. We held five training sessions attended by more than 400 of you to study and discuss issues such as how to protect resources and the environment, how to build a new socialist countryside and how to make China an innovative country. Each standing committee of the people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government set up a liaison office for you, further improving the level of service for you. (More)