Major Tasks for This Year
In 2017, the Communist Party of China will convene its 19th National Congress, the most important political event of the year for the Party and the country and an event of far-reaching significance. 2017 is also an important year for the implementation of China's 13th Five-Year Plan and for the country's advancement toward finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It is therefore extremely important that the NPC accomplishes all of its work for the year well.
The overall requirements for the work of the NPC Standing Committee this year are as follows:
-- Uphold the firm leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core
-- Implement fully the guidelines from the 18th National Party Congress and those of the third through sixth plenary sessions of the 18th Party Central Committee
-- Take as our guide Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development
-- Fully grasp and put into practice the principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping's major addresses and his new vision, thinking, and strategies for the governance of China
-- Remain committed to the underlying principle of making progress while keeping performance stable
-- Safeguard the authority of the Constitution and other laws
-- Strengthen legislation in key areas, with the focus on raising the quality of legislation
-- Deliver proper and effective oversight
-- Support and ensure deputies' law-based performance of their duties
-- Ensure successful accomplishment of all the work of the current NPC and its Standing Committee
-- Greet the convocation of the 19th National Party Congress with great achievements
This year, we will ensure fulfillment of the following tasks.
1. Produce effective legislation to promote development and help ensure good governance
The law is of great value to the governance of a country, and good laws are a prerequisite for good governance. With a view toward putting in place a socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, the 12th NPC and its Standing Committee have conscientiously exercised state legislative powers, enacting, revising, repealing, and interpreting laws as necessary. By grasping and following the principles of legislative work, we have been able to continuously improve it.
In reviewing the experience gained in recent years, we have realized that to do our legislative work well we must adhere to the following principles:
First, uphold the Party's leadership over legislative work. We must work in line with the objectives and tasks set by the Party Central Committee for China's legislative work. The Leading Party Members' Group of the Standing Committee must promptly request instructions from and submit reports to the Party Central Committee on major issues and matters in legislation.
Second, allow legislation to play its guiding and driving role. We must remain committed to coordinating the advancement of both rule of law and reform and to ensuring rule of law and rule of virtue work in concert with one another. We must instill core socialist values into the development of the rule of law, and develop the rule of law to provide a guarantee for the country's reform, development, and stability.
Third, ensure the NPC plays its dominant role in legislative work. We need to improve legislative systems and mechanisms, strengthen organization and coordination in relation to legislative work, and make this work more timely, systematic, targeted, and effective.
Fourth, legislate more effectively and democratically. In line with the idea of putting the people first in legislation and making legislation for them, we must build up broad consensus on legislation and ensure that legislative bodies properly fulfill their important role of voicing, balancing, and adjusting the interests of different sectors of society.
This coming year, we will better adhere to the above mentioned ways of thinking, principles, and methods, given their proven effectiveness in our legislative work. We will strengthen both legislation in key areas and work regarding the enactment, revision, abolition, and interpretation of laws related to reform. We will raise the quality of legislation and ensure that the objectives and tasks set for legislative work are met and accomplished.
First, we will carry out the decision and plan of the Party Central Committee on deepening reform of the national supervision system. This means that we will revise the Law on Administrative Supervision to turn it into a national supervision law, so as to provide a legal guarantee for our efforts to put in place a centralized, unified, authoritative, and highly-efficient national supervision system.
Second, we will improve the legal system with a view toward building new systems for development. After issuing the General Provisions of Civil Law, we will step up our work on compiling the individual books of a civil code. We will strengthen protection of civil law rights and improve our system of laws and regulations concerning equal protection of property rights. To ensure law-based taxation, we will formulate laws on specific taxes, such as a tobacco leaf tax law and a tonnage tax law. To improve the modern market system, we will work on establishing an e-commerce law and revising several laws, including the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, the Law on Promoting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Law on Farmers' Specialized Cooperatives, the Securities Law, and the Standardization Law.
Third, we will strengthen the development of laws and regulations concerning social, cultural, ecological, and other issues. We will formulate a community correction law, a basic medical and health care law, and a law on public libraries, so as to improve the social governance system, push forward the building of a Healthy China, and guarantee the people's cultural rights and interests. To promote ecological progress, we will enact a law for the prevention and control of soil pollution and revise the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution. We will formulate a nuclear safety law, an intelligence law, and a law on international judicial assistance in criminal matters, and revise the Surveying and Mapping Law. We will also revise the Organic Law of the People's Courts and the Organic Law of the People's Procuratorates.
Fourth, we will effectively carry out work concerning the authorization of pilot reforms.
2. Deliver proper and effective oversight
Oversight by the NPC and its Standing Committee over the work of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and over the enforcement of the Constitution and other laws, is both an inherent requirement and institutional design of the system of people's congresses and a practice that embodies the constitutional principle that all state power belongs to the people. The 12th NPC Standing Committee has effectively exercised the power of oversight granted to it by the Constitution and other laws and has adhered to the basic principle that oversight must be proper and effective. Throughout this process, we have developed a deeper understanding of the designed functions of oversight by people's congresses as well as the principles governing this work.
To exercise proper oversight, it is vital that we consistently uphold leadership by the Party and coordinate our oversight work nationwide. We must exercise oversight in strict accordance with our legally mandated powers and statutory procedures. We must have both the courage and the competence to carry out oversight and properly manage the relationship between oversight and support, so that we can truly help the State Council carry out administration in accordance with the law and help the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate administer justice impartially. This is a way for us to work together with them and help them strengthen and improve their work.
To deliver effective oversight, it is crucial that we keep to a problem-oriented approach and identify the focal points of our oversight work, while keeping in mind the overall work of the Party and the country. We should improve the way we carry out oversight, conducting follow-up oversight to get to the bottom of problems and see real results. This will allow us to work toward resolution of major and difficult issues of common concern to NPC deputies and the general public, and to ensure that the people gain a greater sense of benefit.
This coming year, we will keep in mind and put into practice the new development philosophy and adhere to the vision of people-centered development. We will strengthen oversight over the implementation of laws and over the work of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, so that we can help ensure steady and sound economic development as well as social harmony and stability.
First, we will intensify oversight of the implementation of laws. We will inspect compliance with the Pharmaceutical Administration Law, the Product Quality Law, the Copyright Law, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Wastes, the Seed Law, and the Cybersecurity Law.
Second, we will strengthen oversight of government budgets and final accounts. We will hear and deliberate the State Council's reports on the central government's final accounts for 2016, on auditing work, on budget implementation, and on the rectification of problems discovered in auditing. We will conduct research on topics such as standardizing non-tax revenue management, and explore ways to put in place a system through which the State Council reports to the NPC Standing Committee on the management of state-owned assets. We will press ahead with the integrated online oversight of budgets.
Third, with a focus on the government's comprehensive initiatives to ensure steady growth, advance reform, make structural adjustments, improve living standards, and guard against risks, we will hear and deliberate reports of the State Council on the implementation of the plan for national economic and social development and on the work to advance supply-side structural reform and accelerate transformation and upgrading of manufacturing. We will hear and deliberate reports of the State Council on poverty reduction progress, on allocation and utilization of government funds for education, on drug administration, and on protection of cultural heritage. We will hear and deliberate the State Council's reports on the state of the environment and the fulfillment of environmental protection targets in 2016, and on its work concerning grassland ecological conservation and environmental protection. We will conduct research on the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Minors, on economic and social development in townships where ethnic minorities live, and on protection of the rights and interests of overseas Chinese.
Fourth, with a view to promoting judicial impartiality, we will hear and deliberate reports of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on their work to comprehensively deepen judicial reform.
Fifth, we will make consistent efforts to strengthen oversight over enforcement of the Constitution. We will hold events to mark National Constitution Day and organize in accordance with the law swearing-in ceremonies for pledging allegiance to the Constitution. We will accelerate the building of a nationally unified information platform for recording and reviewing normative documents so as to improve our work in this regard.
3. Ensure well-organized elections of deputies to people's congresses
The election of deputies is the foundation of the system of people's congresses and is of great importance for consolidating the Party's position as the governing party, ensuring the position of the people as masters of the country, and strengthening state power. In line with the Party Central Committee's arrangements and requirements concerning the election of new deputies to people's congresses, we will formulate the necessary legal documents and organize the election of deputies to the 13th NPC, acting in accordance with the Constitution and other laws including the Electoral Law for the National People's Congress and Local People's Congresses. We will provide guidance to electoral bodies to help them organize elections well, study the lessons learned from the voting bribery case in Liaoning Province, and, through a combination of strict preventative measures and disciplinary regulations, ensure that the right direction is maintained in elections and the elections are conducted honestly. We will ensure that elections of deputies to the 13th NPC are properly organized in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. Review of deputies' qualifications will be strengthened in accordance with the law. We will see that the national joint conference on the election of new deputies to people's congresses at the county and township levels fully plays its role, and ensure elections at these two levels are well organized.
4. Strengthen and improve the NPC's deputy-related work
During these past four years, the deputies to the 12th NPC, bearing in mind the great trust the people have placed in them, have performed their duties in accordance with the law and participated in the exercise of state power so as to represent the interests and will of the people. Their efforts have laid a solid foundation for the work of the NPC and its Standing Committee, and they have made great contributions to the development of the cause of the Party and the country. To ensure that the people serve as the masters of the country, we will continue to respect the principal position of deputies, consciously accept oversight from deputies and the public, and see to it that people's congresses and their standing committees always represent the people.
This coming year, we will continue to listen to deputies' comments and suggestions using a variety of channels, urge the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate to strengthen their communication with deputies, and broaden channels through which deputies can learn about state affairs and the government's work. We will invite deputies to observe meetings of the Standing Committee, and arrange for them to participate in the Standing Committee's law compliance inspections and attend relevant meetings and study and training activities of special committees. We will implement the guidelines on improving the system by which deputies to people's congresses keep in contact with the people, so as to ensure deputies better communicate with the people and respond to each and every one of the people's concerns. We will help deputies improve their political stand, thinking, and work style and ensure they are better able to carry out their duties, and we will strengthen oversight of deputies to see that they carry out their duties and functions in accordance with the law.
5. Ensure success in all other aspects of the NPC's work
We will actively carry out foreign relations work.
In accordance with the Party Central Committee's major policies and overall plan for China's diplomatic work, we will consolidate and deepen mechanism-based exchanges with relevant foreign parliaments, especially those of neighboring countries and countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. We will actively take part in multilateral parliamentary diplomatic activities and make use of both top-level exchanges and friendly exchanges at other levels to enhance political trust and pragmatic cooperation with other countries and deepen friendship with other peoples, thus helping create a favorable external environment for China's development.
We will improve the NPC's information and public communication work and theoretical research.
To maintain the initiative in work concerning the public discourse, we will work to understand, explain, and communicate the new theoretical and practical accomplishments that the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made in upholding and improving the system of people's congresses and in fully advancing the law-based governance of China, and we will demonstrate clearly the achievements and progress China has made in developing socialist democracy and the rule of law. To maintain the right tone in public communication, we will improve the NPC's press release work and enhance its public communication capacity. We will hold events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
We will continue to promote the development and improvement of the work of local people's congresses.
We will take steps to strengthen the work and development of people's congresses at the county and township levels, organize study sessions for leading members of the standing committees of county-level people's congresses, and offer better guidance on legislative work to local people's congresses.
In accordance with the Party Central Committee's requirement that the system by which people's congresses discuss and decide major issues be improved and that people's governments at all levels report to people's congresses at the same level before publishing major policy decisions, we will make sure that people's congresses properly perform their tasks in discussing and deciding major issues and better carry out their functions as organs of state power.
We will strengthen self-improvement of the Standing Committee in all respects.
We will improve our thinking and theoretical competence; take a clear stand in emphasizing politics; raise our awareness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment; and safeguard the authority of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and uphold its centralized, unified leadership. We will deepen our understanding of the guiding principles of the Party's strict self-governance so as to ensure better implementation of them, strictly observe political discipline and rules, and create an honest and upright political environment. We will comprehensively improve the administrative bodies of the Standing Committee and special committees. Utilizing the lessons learned from addressing the problems discovered by the central discipline inspection team during its special inspection of these bodies, we will help these bodies better assist and support deputies and ensure their officials are loyal to the Party, honest, and responsible.
Today, we are closer than ever in history to realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we have greater confidence in achieving this goal and greater capability to do so than ever before. Rallying even closer around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, let us stay true to the Party's founding mission and continue to move forward as we work with creativity and tap into our potential to uphold, implement, and develop the system of people's congresses, achieve the Two Centenary Goals,(1) and realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
Note(1) This refers to completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and turning the People's Republic of China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the time it celebrates its centenary in 2049.