Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 腾讯微博 Wednesday 3 June 2015
English>>China Politics

China's top legislature keeps closer eye on government with inquiries

(Xinhua)    08:33, April 10, 2015
Top Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders Xi Jinping (C, front), Li Keqiang (3rd R, front), Yu Zhengsheng (2nd L, front), Liu Yunshan (2nd R, front), Wang Qishan (front L) and Zhang Gaoli (front R) attend the closing meeting of the third session of the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2015. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

BEIJING, April 9 -- China's top legislature will strengthen special inquiries as one of its powers to monitor the government, targeting more vice premier-level officials.

The general office of the National People's Congress Standing Committee recently published a notice on strengthening and improving special inquiries. Fu Wenjie, an official with the top legislature said the work will improve the efficiency of their council and monitoring functions.

It is another move by China to strengthen democracy and strengthen the legislature's role in governance of the state, experts say.

The inquiry system allows the legislature to ask top government officials to deliver reports on specific issues during the NPCStanding Committee sessions and enables senior lawmakers to question officials in order to supervise and urge the government to improve their work.

Fu Wenjie told Xinhua that special inquiries have clear topics and the monitoring is more targeted, putting pressure on the related department to improve their work. Special inquires embody the progress of the people's congress system, which is China's basic political system.

The system started in June 2010 and so far the top legislature has carried out a total of 15 special inquiries. After the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party (CPC) that put forward a general plan for comprehensive and deepened reform, the system was given more attention.

In 2014, the top legislature organized special inquiries on issues including transformation of government functions, the social welfare system and the building of a new socialist countryside.

Special inquiries often take place during the bi-monthly session of top legislature. In one inquiry at the end of last year, vice premier Ma Kai and ministers from seven ministries were asked by lawmakers on issues regarding the social welfare system.

Presided over by NPC Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang, lawmakers raised many critical questions for the vice premier and ministers, and their answers were described as objective and candid, without purposely avoiding problems.

It was the first time that a vice premier was questioned by the top legislature since the start of the work. Officials seemed to be under quite a lot of pressure, which reminded him of inquiries in the House of Commons in British parliament.

However, Fu said although progress has been made in recent years, special inquiries need to be improved as problems are not well-targeted, interactions during inquiries are insufficient, and they are not effective.

Fu added that the top legislature will focus more on the concerns of the society, especially those concern the people's direct interests and the general situation of the reform and development.

In addition, Fu said more senior officials including vice premiers, state councilors will be faced with inquiries in the future. According to the notice, one or two vice premiers or state councilors will make reports to the top legislature and receive inquiries every year. This will increase in the future if possible.

Heads of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) will also make reports and receive inquires of the top legislature, according to the notice.

The notice also highlights the effectiveness of inquires. The top legislature will make a document after every inquiry and delivers to the government, the SPC or the SPP. Organs being inquired should give feedbacks on improvement of their work within a time limit.

Furthermore, special committees of the NPC will supervise or follow the issues, reviewing the implementation of related organs' reports for improving their work. If majority lawmakers do not satisfy the improvement, related organs will be asked to make further improvement until lawmakers are satisfied.

Fu said the top legislature will organize inquires concerning vocational education, the implementation of the Law on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, as well as rectification of major problems found in auditing.

A strengthened inquiry system is part of the comprehensive and deep reforms made by China's central authority, and an important form for monitoring and supervising the government, the court and the procuratorate.

Wang Yukai, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the inquiry system was not used in China before as the country felt it was too arrogant, like trials for officials, while tradition stresses more consultation.

"But if inquiry system can exert its role, it will be very effective," Wang said, who explained that officials' response to lawmakers' inquires was also heard by the public with the help of media, therefore the public can also supervise and monitor the government to improve its work.

In addition, the interactions during inquires can draw more attention of the public to some major issues, initiating discussion on those issues so that the issues can be better addressed with the help of all walks of society.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Yao Chun)

Add your comment

Related reading

We Recommend

Most Viewed


Key Words