Election of deputies to people's congresses is a matter of great importance in the improvement of China's socialist democratic politics. Starting in July of last year, new people's congresses at the county and township levels across the country will be elected at the same time in accordance with the provision of the amendment to the Constitution changing the term of township people's congresses from three years to five years. This change affects 900 million voters for more than 30,000 county and township people's congresses. All local governments are paying pay very close attention to this work, diligently following the arrangements of the Central Committee, and steadfastly acting in accordance with the law. The election of the new county and township people's congresses is proceeding smoothly. The election of new people's congresses at the level of cities divided into districts, autonomous prefectures, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government will also be taking place during the second half of this year. A decision will be made at this session concerning the election of deputies to the Eleventh NPC and matters related to the election will be put on the agenda. Successfully carrying out elections of deputies to people's congresses is an important task for people's congresses at all levels and their standing committees. We must uphold the leadership of the Party, strongly advocate democracy, act strictly in accordance with the law and elect outstanding people who strictly obey the Constitution and other laws, maintain close ties with the masses, work hard to serve the people and enjoy their trust as deputies to people's congresses at all levels. This will provide a solid organizational guarantee for upholding and improving the system of people's congresses and bringing about a new phase in the work of people's congresses.
We need to actively carry out the foreign exchange work of the NPC this year in accordance with the basic principles and overall arrangements for China's foreign relations work. We need to carry out extensive exchange and cooperation activities with other parliaments and congresses, actively participate in Russia's Year of China activities and continue to fully play our role in international and regional parliamentary organizations, focusing on strengthening and improving the mechanism for regular exchanges with other parliaments and congresses, in order to create an excellent international environment for peaceful development and make our due contribution to promoting the development of a harmonious world.
We will continue to intensify the Standing Committee's self- improvement efforts. We need to firmly establish the concept of giving high priority to the Party, the overall situation, the people, democracy and the legal system, work more resolutely and conscientiously to uphold and improve the system of people's congresses, and constantly increase our ability to carry out our duties in accordance with the law and improve our actual performance in doing so. We will carry out extensive investigations and studies, diligently review our actual experience and widely publicize the work of the NPC. We will vigorously implement the fifth five-year plan to increase public awareness of the law in order to increase understanding of the legal system among the general public. We will continue to strengthen contacts with local people's congresses and work with them to improve socialist democracy and the socialist legal system. The organs of the Standing Committee should intensify all aspects of their self-improvement efforts, focusing on improving the political standards and professional skills of their cadres to more fully play their role as a collective adviser and assistant to the Standing Committee and their role in providing services to you.
Let us rally closely around the Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, fully put into practice the Scientific Outlook on Development, and demonstrate strong political fervor, be in excellent spirits and make outstanding achievements in our work to welcome a successful convening of the Seventeenth National Party Congress!