BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which was delivered by Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the NPC Standing Committee on March 9, 2014 for review at the Second Session of the 12th NPC and adopted on March 13, 2014:
REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS
Delivered at the Second Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress on March 9, 2014
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
On behalf of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), I now present to you the report on its work for your deliberation.
Major Work of the Past Year
In 2013, in the face of the complex international situation and the arduous domestic tasks of reform, development and stability, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary held high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and united with and led the people of all of China's ethnic groups in adhering to the general work guideline of making progress while maintaining stability; responding to all risks and challenges calmly; stimulating socialist economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement in an all-around way; making overall arrangements for comprehensively deepening reform; and making major progress in all its work, thus winning the heartfelt support of the whole Party and the people of all of our ethnic groups.
The past year was the first year for the Standing Committee of the Twelfth NPC to perform its functions in accordance with the law. The Standing Committee comprehensively implemented the guiding principles set forth at the Eighteenth National Party Congress and the second and third plenary sessions of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee, and took Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development as its guide. Under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, the Standing Committee implemented the guiding principles of the First Session of the Twelfth NPC and conscientiously performed the powers and functions conferred on it by the Constitution and laws. Building on past achievements, the Standing Committee took new steps in the work of the NPC, and ensured that its work got off to a good start. Thus, the Standing Committee made positive contributions to strengthening socialist democracy and the socialist rule of law, finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
1. We made comprehensive arrangements for the Standing Committee of the Twelfth NPC.
The Eighteenth National Party Congress drew up a comprehensive plan for adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics under the new conditions of the times. The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary has charted the course for making progress in the Party and country's cause since the conclusion of the congress by putting forward many new ideas, viewpoints, judgments and requirements centered on reform, development and stability; on domestic affairs, foreign relations and national defense; and on running the Party, country and armed forces. Bearing the overall work of the Party and country firmly in mind, the Standing Committee of the Twelfth NPC set forth the general thinking, basic requirements and main tasks for its work on the basis of a thorough analysis of the new circumstances and tasks of the NPC's work, and provided powerful guarantees for comprehensively deepening reform and promoting the development of socialist democracy and the socialist rule of law.
-- We unswervingly kept to the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics and adhered to, improved and developed the system of people's congresses. We upheld the people's principal position in the country; made people's democracy more widespread, granted it more fully, and developed it further; and supported and ensured the exercise of state power by the people through people's congresses. We unwaveringly adhered to the system of people's congresses and developed it as required by the times, constantly enriched its practicality and suitability to the times, and got the system of people's congresses to fully play its role as China's fundamental political system.
-- We promoted the rule of law in all respects and safeguarded the sanctity of the Constitution and laws. We ensured that the country is governed, governance is exercised and administration is conducted all in accordance with the law, and that our country, government and society are all based on the law. We standardized government activities and made sure that state administrative bodies at all levels function in accordance with the law. We got judicial and procuratorial bodies at all levels to be fair in administering justice. We enhanced judicial credibility, and ensured that laws are observed and strictly enforced, violators are punished, and people's rights and interests are safeguarded. We promoted social fairness and justice. We strengthened oversight and inspection of compliance with the Constitution and laws and safeguarded the unity, sanctity and authority of the country's legal system.
-- We got the NPC and its Standing Committee to fully play their important roles as the country's highest organs of state power in building a law-based socialist country, and strove to initiate a new phase in the work of the NPC. The NPC and its Standing Committee stays in the forefront of developing socialist democracy and the socialist rule of law, and shoulders important responsibility in the course of comprehensively promoting law-based governance. Therefore, we should view steadfastly running the country in accordance with the law and safeguarding the authority of the Constitution and laws as important tasks of the NPC and its Standing Committee. We exercised our legislative, oversight, policymaking, and personnel appointment and dismissal powers in accordance with the law, and gave impetus to implementing the major decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee. We strengthened legislation in key areas and focused on improving the quality of legislation. We strengthened and improved our oversight work in accordance with the law and focused on making oversight more effective. We supported NPC deputies in the lawful performance of their duties, ensured that they could perform them and got them to close ranks with the people.
-- We drew up a legislative plan and developed and improved the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. Legislation is a prerequisite and foundation for the rule of law. We drew up a legislative plan for the Standing Committee of the Twelfth NPC based on a comprehensive analysis of the new circumstances and requirements for our legislative work after the establishment of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, and on a careful review of bills and proposals put forward by NPC deputies, in-depth investigations and studies, and repeated discussions and consultations. In addition, we promptly held a meeting on legislative work to determine the targets, tasks and requirements of the legislative work for the current term and the steps for fulfilling them. We stressed the need to be guided by the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, proceed from China's conditions and realities, put people first, pass legislation for the benefit of the people, and further the implementation of the Constitution through well-developed laws. We also stressed the need to make laws scientifically and democratically, and constantly improve the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.
2. We made progress in our legislative work, with the focus on raising the quality of legislation.
Over the past year, the Standing Committee deliberated 15 bills and draft decisions on legal issues, of which ten of them were passed; and revised 21 laws and enacted two.
First, we finished a number of key legislative projects to meet the needs of economic and social development. In order to ensure sustained, sound development of tourism, the Standing Committee enacted the Tourism Law, the main purpose of which is to protect the legitimate rights and interests of tourists; maintain order and standardize business activities in the tourism market; improve mechanisms for solving tourism disputes; and clarify the government's role in planning, promoting and overseeing the development of tourism. In light of the wide use of special equipment such as boilers, pressure vessels, elevators and escalators, and large recreational equipment in China, the Standing Committee enacted the Special Equipment Safety Law to stress the whole process of oversight and supervision of such equipment from manufacturing and installation to operation and use, maintenance, and inspection and testing, and then put in place systems for special equipment's identity management, quality accountability, and product's recalling and scrapping. This significantly strengthens safety oversight and supervision of special equipment and better protects people's life and property in accordance with the law. The Standing Committee made significant revisions to the Law on the Protection of Consumers' Rights and Interests, which is closely related to people's lives. The revised law maintains market order and safeguards consumers' legitimate rights and interests by specifying them in greater detail, increasing the obligations and responsibilities of managers, standardizing online shopping and other new types of consumption, and giving consumers' associations a bigger role to play. The Standing Committee also revised the Trademark Law, streamlined trademark registration and examination procedures, made more items eligible for registration as trademarks, improved the protection system for famous trademarks, and tightened legal responsibilities for trademark infringement.
The Standing Committee deliberated draft revisions to the Environmental Protection Law twice. Its members stressed the need to be fully aware that protecting the environment is an urgent and complex task that requires long-term efforts. It is necessary to fully analyze the deep-rooted reasons for environmental problems, work to solve prominent environmental problems that the people are concerned about, such as air, water and soil pollution, and strive to fundamentally reverse environmental deterioration by improving laws and regulations, strengthening supervision over the process of environmental management, tightening oversight of the discharge of pollutants, and inflicting harsher punishments for illegal practices. The Standing Committee also deliberated the draft of the Asset Evaluation Law and the draft revisions to the Administrative Procedures Law, the Military Facilities Protection Law and the Law on Production Safety.
Second, we adopted timely decisions and resolutions to ensure law-based, orderly progress of major reforms. In carrying out arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and implementing the Plan for the Reform of State Council Bodies and the Transformation of Their Functions approved at the First Session of the Twelfth NPC, the Standing Committee decided to revise a package of laws and adopted the decision to revise 12 laws including the Law on the Protection of Cultural Relics and the decision to revise the Law on the Protection of the Marine Environment and six other laws. It also authorized the State Council to make provisional adjustments to items subject to its review and approval required by law, eliminate or delegate a number of items requiring its review and approval, create new patterns for opening to the outside world, and reform the industrial and commercial registration system in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. This helped further streamline administration and delegate more power to lower-level governments, invigorate economic and social development, ensure that the market plays a decisive role in allocating resources and make the government better play its role.
The Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee clearly stipulated that the system for reeducation through labor be abolished and progressive adjustments and improvements be made to birth policies. After the State Council put forward motions to that effect, the Standing Committee carried out careful deliberation and adopted the decision to repeal laws and regulations concerning reeducation through labor and unequivocally revoked previous resolutions of the NPC Standing Committee on this punishment as well as two documents of the State Council concerning it - the Decision of the State Council on Reeducation through Labor and the Supplementary Regulations of the State Council on Reeducation through Labor. It also adopted the decision to adjust and improve birth policies and introduced the policy allowing couples to have a second child if one parent is an only child.
Third, we adopted decisions on anniversaries of some historical events and promoted patriotism. In order to ensure that the Chinese people bear history firmly in their mind, not forget the past, treasure peace, and break new ground, the Standing Committee deliberated and adopted the decision on making September 3rd Victory Day in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the decision on making December 13th National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims. The legal framework created by the NPC Standing Committee to establish these two anniversaries played a significant role in pooling the will and strength of the people of all of our ethnic groups, realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and promoting the lofty cause of human peace and development.
Fourth, we worked vigorously to make legislation more scientific and democratic and raise its quality. At present, what the general public expects of our legislative work is that laws work well and are capable of solving practical problems. The Standing Committee gave higher priority to raising the quality of legislation, improved the mechanisms and methods of legislative work, and constantly made legislation more scientific and democratic.
1) We made laws more enforceable and practicable. Because some laws are too general and need too many supporting regulations and rules, the Standing Committee emphasized that laws must be scientific and well-conceived and as specific and explicit as possible in order to ensure that all enacted and revised laws are well grounded, enforceable, and practicable. When enacting the Special Equipment Safety Law, the Standing Committee carefully reviewed practical experience in overseeing and supervising special equipment safety and greatly amplified the second draft of the law submitted for deliberation and made it more detailed, increasing its draft clauses from 72 to 101.
2) We explored ways to assess laws before their promulgation. Before the draft of the Tourism Law was submitted for deliberation and vote, we invited some NPC deputies, tourists, travel agencies and experts to a conference at which comprehensive assessments were made of the feasibility of the draft and the timing of the law's promulgation, as well as its social effect after implementation to provide reference materials for making legislative decisions. Later on, such assessments were made of three other draft laws. Experience has proven that this is beneficial to integrating forward and reverse thinking and giving consideration not only to the opinions of experts and people affected by the laws but also to the comments of law enforcement departments, thus making our legislative work more scientific and comprehensive.
3) We improved the mechanism for promulgating draft laws for public suggestions. By promulgating first drafts, we made it clear we will also make full texts of second drafts known to the public to further solicit comments and suggestions of everyone. At the same time, we improved the mechanism for giving feedback to people and actively responded to their concerns. In the process of enacting the Tourism Law and revising the Trademark Law and the Law on the Protection of Consumers' Rights and Interests, we provided explicit legal provisions on issues of greatest concern to the public, such as deceptive zero-fee tours, forced shopping and other irregularities in the tourism market, the overly long trademark review period, and the problem of getting unconditional refunds when cancelling a purchase made online.
Over the past year, the Standing Committee ratified four treaties or agreements with foreign countries or international conventions that China concluded, and made decisions on and approved the appointment or removal of a number of employees in state bodies.
3. We made progress in our oversight work with the focus on making our oversight more effective.
The Standing Committee conscientiously performed its oversight functions and powers, focusing on serving the overall interests of the country and emphasizing priorities; and improved oversight methods and strengthened its oversight of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate with the focus on making oversight more effective. Over the past year, we listened to and deliberated 15 work reports of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; inspected compliance with four laws; conducted three special inquiries; and carried out five special investigations and studies.
First, we strengthened oversight of economic work. The Standing Committee listened to and deliberated the State Council's work reports on the interim assessment of the implementation of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, and on implementing China's 2013 plan for national economic and social development, fully implementing the strategy for large-scale development of the western region, advancing urbanization, and promoting financial reform and development in rural areas. It also carried out investigations and studies on compliance with the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy. Members of the Standing Committee noted that under the leadership of the Party Central Committee, the whole nation worked hard as one and economic and social development progressed steadily and improved, getting the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period off to a good start. The Standing Committee stressed the following four points:
1) It is necessary to conscientiously implement the Party Central Committee's policy and arrangements for comprehensively deepening reform; steadfastly seek progress while maintaining stability, and carry out reform and make innovations; attach great importance to serious economic problems; accelerate transformation of the growth model; effectively improve the quality and returns of economic growth; and ensure that the objectives and tasks set forth in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan are accomplished on schedule.
2) In implementing the strategy for regional development, we should continue to give high priority to the strategy of large-scale development of the western region. It is necessary to accelerate economic growth, improvement in people's wellbeing, and environmental protection efforts in the western region; and explore for, divert and conserve water to alleviate the shortage of water resources in the region, and work harder to build highways, railways, rural roads and other infrastructure in order to constantly improve our capabilities to ensure economic and social development in the western region.
3) It is necessary to strive for a new type of urbanization with Chinese characteristics; and provide equal access to basic public services more quickly, improve the quality of the environment in cities, and refine systems and mechanisms for integrating urban and rural development, with the focus on granting urban residency to those who have left agricultural work.
4) It is necessary to deepen rural financial reform, increase financial support for agriculture, and offer more policy support to rural finance in order to make positive contributions to rural development, rural income growth and agricultural modernization.
Second, we strengthened budget and final account review and oversight.
1) At its June meeting, the Standing Committee listened to and deliberated the reports on the central government's final accounts and auditing work in 2012, and reviewed and approved the former. At its August meeting, the Standing Committee listened to and deliberated a report on the implementation of the budget for the first seven months of fiscal year 2013. We urged the State Council and its departments to be more frugal, increase revenue and reduce expenditures, work hard and be economical, do more to reduce expenditures, limit spending to what is affordable, tighten fiscal management, and use government funds more efficiently.
2) At its October meeting, the Standing Committee listened to and deliberated a report on the allocation and use of government funds for science and technology. This was the first time the Standing Committee oversaw the use of government funds for a specific purpose, and it was a useful attempt to intensify its budget oversight.
3) We organized investigations and studies on the examination and oversight of all government budgets and final accounts and set forth the thinking and measures for strengthening this work, and urged relevant government departments to improve budgeting systems for public finances, government-managed funds, state capital operations, and social security.
Third, we improved oversight of the work relating to people's wellbeing. The Standing Committee listened to and deliberated a report on poverty relief and development work in rural areas and fully affirmed the enormous achievements that were made. We emphasized the need to unwaveringly implement the CPC Central Committee's policies and arrangements on poverty reduction and development work, adapt measures to local conditions and give guidance tailored to the situation, focus on key areas and seek substantive results, and alleviate poverty in poor contiguous areas more quickly. We also stressed the need to focus on providing education in poor areas as an important way to prevent poverty from being passed to future generations, effectively ensure that children of the poor receive compulsory education, and enable more children in poor areas to receive vocational or higher education. The Standing Committee inspected compliance with the Law on Compulsory Education, and called on governments at all levels to live up to the people's expectations, fully implement the Party's education policy, promote equality in education, appropriately allocate education resources, lighten the study load of primary and secondary school students, and improve the ranks of rural teachers, so that children can attend school and do well in their studies. When listening to and deliberating a report on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, the Standing Committee stressed the need to improve the work mechanism for different government departments working together to prevent and control infectious diseases, support the development of a prevention and control system in the western region and rural areas, intensify publicity of laws and regulations on infectious disease prevention and treatment, and comprehensively improve work in this area.
Fourth, we strengthened oversight of environmental protection. The Standing Committee listened to and deliberated a report on developing a mechanism for compensating for ecological damage and carried out inspections of compliance with the Law on Renewal Energy and the Meteorology Law. Members of the Standing Committee noted that protecting the environment and building a beautiful China require the participation of the whole society and that it is necessary to implement the policy of compensation for ecological damage and accelerate development of a mechanism for compensating for ecological damage based on the principle that developers are responsible for protecting the environment and those who damage it must provide compensation. Members of the Standing Committee specified that it is necessary to strengthen the revision and management of the renewable energy development plan in accordance with the law, further increase government subsidies and tax breaks, and strengthen R&D and application of key technologies in order to provide strong support for the development of renewable energy. The members also specified that it is necessary to step up efforts in meteorology modernization, become better able to use meteorology to prevent and mitigate natural disasters, make weather forecasts and warnings of disastrous weather more accurate, utilize climatic resources in a more scientific way and protect them more effectively.
Fifth, we strengthened limits on and oversight of the exercise of state power. The Standing Committee listened to and deliberated the State Council's report on standardizing law enforcement by public security agencies, the Supreme People's Court's report on the work of jurors, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate's report on procuratorial organs' fight against graft and corruption. The Standing Committee also inspected compliance with the Law on Administrative Review. Its members stated that the key to improving the system that limits and oversees state power is to grant oversight power to the people, exercise power openly, and institutionalize the exercise of state power. Law enforcement and judicial bodies at all levels must use institutional means to oversee the exercise of state power, the handling of state affairs and the conduct of personnel, redouble their efforts in the fight against corruption and the punishment of corrupt people in accordance with the law, make their law enforcement and judicial work more institutionalized and standardized, and strive to ensure that the people feel that every case is handled fairly and justly.
Sixth, we improved the quality and effects of special inquiries. Special inquiries are an important way the NPC oversees the work of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. The Standing Committee conducted inquiries on prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, allocation and use of government funds for science and technology, and poverty relief and development work in rural areas. Having reviewed past experience, we improved organization of all aspects of special inquiries to make such inquiries more constructive and helpful.
1) We carried out in-depth investigations and studies to improve the quality of inquiries. Members of the Standing Committee shared the concerns of the people, focused their inquiries on key areas and identified pressing problems of public concern.
2) Members of the Standing Committee exchanged more ideas and deepened discussions with government departments. The members could either register beforehand to participate in inquiries or simply ask questions on the spot, and they could ask follow-up questions addressed to the answers given by government departments. Leaders of the relevant State Council departments answered inquiries informatively and frankly, did not evade questions or shift responsibility onto others, and responded to the people's voice with concrete improvements in their work.
3) We made inquiries more transparent to ensure problems identified are rectified. The Standing Committee used a variety of ways to report its inquiries and explored the idea of live broadcasts. It also assigned special committees to strengthen follow-up oversight of serious problems, and urged relevant State Council departments to turn the results of inquiries into improvements in work.
The Standing Committee paid great attention to the records review of normative documents and took the initiative to strengthen the review of them. We reviewed 19 new administrative regulations of the State Council and 32 legal interpretations of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate one by one for the past year, and we urged them to promptly revise or rescind those that conflict with the Constitution and laws.
The Standing Committee of the last NPC arranged the work of reviewing all of China's judicial interpretations and documents with the force of judicial interpretations currently in effect. This is the first comprehensive, concentrated review of its kind since the founding of New China. The Standing Committee of the current NPC listened to and deliberated the report on this work, set forth the requirement to improve the mechanism to make this work a regular practice, and emphasized that such interpretations should be in accord with the intentions of the laws they interpret and established legal principles, help with the practical application of those laws within the laws' scope, safeguard the unity of the country's legal system, and ensure the correct implementation of the laws.
4. We supported deputies in exercising their duties in accordance with the law and got them to fully play their role.
Deputies to the NPC are members of the country's highest organ of state power. Respecting their principal position, improving their quality, and getting them to fully play their role are the basis for doing the work of people's congresses well. The Standing Committee improved the mechanism for providing services for deputies and served them better, and deputies better played their role in participating in the administration of state affairs.
First, we improved the system by which deputies maintain contact with the people. We divided the deputies to the NPC into 260 groups, supported their active activities, and listened to and reported on the people's opinions and requests through a variety of ways. Some members of the Chairperson's Council and the Standing Committee participated in activities of groups of deputies in their places of election, and discussed the performance of the NPC's duties with deputies from local levels. We organized 1,740 deputies to conduct investigations and studies on special topics and 1,700 deputies to participate in inspection tours. These investigations generated over 110 reports, which provided the central and local authorities with important reference materials for making policy decisions. We arranged for deputies from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan to carry out inspections, investigations and studies in Guangdong, Guangxi, Jilin, and Jiangxi.
Second, we improved the system by which the Standing Committee maintains contact with deputies. We formulated guidelines for creating closer ties between members of the Chairperson's Council and NPC deputies, which clearly specify that each member of the Chairperson's Council should maintain direct contact with at least five NPC deputies. This is an important measure adopted by the Standing Committee to strengthen its ties with deputies and improve its conduct. We expanded the participation of deputies in the work of the Standing Committee and special committees, and the number of deputies sitting on a meeting of the Standing Committee was increased to 66. We also invited more deputies to participate in such activities as law enforcement inspections, legislative assessments, and investigations and studies; and conscientiously listened to deputies' comments and suggestions. For example, when revising the Trademark Law, we fully adopted suggestions of deputies on prohibiting pirate registration of trademarks in bad faith, clarifying how to resolve legal matters involving trademark and trade name conflicts, and specifying awards for punitive damages. When we deliberated the report on developing the mechanism of compensation for ecological damage, deputies proposed increasing ecological compensation commensurate with improvements made in the ecosystems of public forests and grasslands. We incorporated their proposals into the comments of Standing Committee members, and turned them over to relevant departments to be looked into and handled.
Third, we deliberated deputies' bills and handled their proposals well. We combined deliberation of deputies' bills with legislative work, combed and analyzed the legislative items deputies' bills focused on, and incorporated 51 items set forth in 169 bills into legislative programs and plans. In the process of enacting and revising laws, we gave full consideration to what was relevant and accepted all we could, and invited the lead authors of bills to participate in legislative studies and discussions. We handled deputies' proposals while improving our work. We selected 12 key proposals reflected in the 166 proposals put forth by 728 deputies and 10 delegations for handling under the supervision of the relevant special committees. Proposals made by deputies on advancing urbanization both actively and prudently, improving the mechanism of compensation for ecological damage, intensifying poverty alleviation and development in poor areas, preventing and controlling air pollution, developing clean energy, and improving the social assistance system were fully reflected in policies and measures introduced by the State Council and other relevant bodies. At present, special committees have completed deliberation on the 401 bills of deputies referred to them by the Presidium of the First Session of the Twelfth NPC; and the 7,569 proposals of deputies have all been handled and feedback has been given to deputies, and 81% of the problems brought up in proposals have been solved or plans have been made for solving them progressively.
The Standing Committee attaches great importance to deputies' study and training and last year held four study sessions for them to better perform their duties. More than 1,200 deputies attended the study sessions, where they improved their ability to perform their duties in accordance with the law.
The election of deputies is the foundation of the system of people's congresses. The case of vote buying that occurred in Hengyang in the province of Hunan was a serious violation of the law and discipline. It exerted a baneful influence and gave us a stern warning. We must strengthen the organization and leadership of the election of NPC deputies; act strictly in accordance with the law and prescribed procedures; improve the NPC deputies' way of thinking and conduct; and uphold the authority and sanctity of the system of people's congresses, the authority and sanctity of socialist democracy, and the authority and sanctity of the Constitution and laws.
5. We complied with and served China's diplomacy and did the NPC's foreign relations work well.
The NPC's foreign relations are an important component of China's overall diplomacy. We steadfastly complied with and served China's diplomacy, and fully utilized the characteristics and advantages of the NPC in developing foreign relations to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with foreign parliaments and congresses and international parliamentary organizations, thereby making new contributions to safeguarding and exploiting the important period of strategic opportunity for China's development and safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests.
We actively developed high-level contacts with the national parliaments or congresses of other countries including Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Slovakia, Poland, Iran, Thailand and Pakistan, and deepened friendship with neighboring countries, other developing countries and emerging market economies. We steadily promoted exchanges with foreign congresses or parliaments under the mechanism of regular exchanges, and on its basis held meetings with the national congresses or parliaments of Russia, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Australia as well as with regional parliaments such as the European Parliament and also maintained continuity of regular exchanges with the United States Congress. We got the special committees, bilateral friendship groups and the executive bodies of the Standing Committee to strengthen foreign relations and exchanges in their specific fields. We did a good job in receiving visiting delegations of other countries' congresses or parliaments, and enriched the content of communication with them. We also extensively engaged in multilateral diplomatic activities among parliaments and congresses and played a constructive role in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Latin American Parliament, and other international and regional parliamentary organizations.
In our foreign relations work, we told China's story and let its voice be heard in many forms on different occasions. First, we thoroughly expounded the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, explained the system of people's congresses in detail, and widely publicized the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, thereby helping the international community to better understand China's domestic and diplomatic policies. Second, with the focus on exchanging experiences with our foreign counterparts regarding legislation and state governance, we explained China's achievements in developing democracy and the rule of law, and learned from other countries' beneficial experiences. Third, with promoting pragmatic cooperation as the core, we worked to create a legal environment favorable for deepening economic and trade cooperation and expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges with other countries, and strengthened the social and popular foundation for developing relations between China and other countries.
In response to erroneous statements and actions by certain countries concerning China's core interests and issues of vital importance to China, we solemnly made clear our position to resolutely safeguard China's national interests through declarations from the NPC's Foreign Affairs Committee and participation in relevant international conferences.
6. We strengthened research on the system of people's congresses and improved the NPC's information and publicity work.
In order to improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's governance system and its governance capacity, the Standing Committee strengthened research on the system of people's congresses; improved and strengthened the NPC's information and publicity work; fortified its confidence in the socialist path, theories and system with Chinese characteristics; and carried out theoretical and practical innovations in the system of people's congresses.
First, we intensified investigations and studies on the work and development of local people's congresses. Last year, we conducted investigations and studies on strengthening and improving the work of people's congresses at the county level. Teams led by members of the Chairperson's Council visited organizations at the community level to find out how deputies to people's congresses had performed their functions and what they had done when their congresses were not in session. These teams held conferences on the work of people's congresses at the county level to thoroughly discuss the new conditions and problems facing these congresses. They also requested the standing committees of the 31 people's congresses at the provincial level in writing to comment on these new conditions and problems. All this was for the purpose of understanding the general situation, main experiences, prominent problems, comments and suggestions concerning the work and development of people's congresses at the county level. The teams stressed the need to improve the work systems and mechanisms of people's congresses at all levels in accordance with the law and steadily improve and develop their work on the basis of the principle of reviewing work, drawing upon successes, making improvement and raising standards. The teams also stressed the need to take people's satisfaction as the highest standard of the work of people's congresses, truly improve their work style, and build people's congresses and their standing committees into bodies that can effectively perform all their legally mandated duties and functions.
Second, we carried out theoretical research on the system of people's congresses. The Standing Committee attaches great importance to this research and actively promotes the establishment of relevant organizations and platforms. The China Society for Theoretical Research on the System of People's Congresses was officially founded in January this year. It is not only an organization through which activities are carried out and a platform on which exchanges are conducted to strengthen theoretical research on the system of people's congresses, but also a new channel through which the Standing Committee increases its contacts with local people's congresses. We need to conscientiously review the experience of developing the system of people's congresses, discuss theoretical and practical issues concerning this system, and explore the characteristics of and laws governing people's congresses' work in order to provide theoretical and intellectual support for them to do their work well under new conditions and make this system and the work of people's congresses better manifest the character of the times, follow the law of development and be full of creativity.
Third, we improved and strengthened the information and publicity work of the NPC. We increased publicity about and reports on the whole process of legislation, provided prompt authoritative interpretation of laws we passed and improved guidance on public opinion in order to get all sectors of society to better understand the background and purposes of the legislation and the principles and content of the laws and create a favorable social environment for correctly implementing the laws. We increased transparency in oversight work. We kept deputies to the NPC well informed about the special reports of the State Council, the reports on inspection of compliance with laws, and our comments on them, and also posted them online at the NPC's website www.npc.gov.cn so that deputies and ordinary people could exercise oversight. We held the Conference on the NPC's Information and Publicity Work and stressed that in order to meet new requirements in the new situation, we need to increase our sense of responsibility and mission to do the NPC's information and publicity work well, and fully demonstrate the advantages of the system of people's congresses and the new work of the NPC through prompt, accurate and vivid reports with rich content.
7. We effectively strengthened the Standing Committee's self-improvement efforts.
The Standing Committee always gave top priority to raising its intellectual and political standards; fully implemented the Party's basic theory, line, program, experience and requirements; thoroughly studied and put into practice the guiding principles of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches; consciously maintained a high level of unity with the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary; resolutely implemented the Central Committee's policies and arrangements; and firmly safeguarded the work of the Party and country. We always adhered to the principle of democratic centralism, kept the rule of law firmly in mind, and did our work on the basis of procedures and in strict accordance with the law.
We intensified efforts to improve our style of work. The Leading Party Members' Group of the Standing Committee thoroughly carried out the campaign to heighten awareness of and implement the Party's mass line, and formulated guidelines and measures for adhering to the mass line and improving our style of work, which effectively brought about improvements in the Standing Committee's style of work. The Chairperson's Council of the NPC Standing Committee deliberated and approved the Measures of the Members of the Chairperson's Council for Implementing the CPC Central Committee's eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct and issued 19 specific provisions in six areas, such as improving investigations and studies. In investigations and studies on legislation and oversight, the Standing Committee paid closer attention to actual conditions and lower-level organizations, and directly solicited the views of the people and learned on the spot about pressing problems in a variety of ways, such as unannounced visits, field studies in selected locations, questionnaire surveys and online comments. The way Standing Committee meetings were held was effectively improved, democracy was brought into full play, participants eagerly awaited their turn to speak, and deliberation was more thorough. All this significantly improved the quality and level of the work of the Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee's group study sessions were well organized. We set the goal of making the Standing Committee a committee keen on learning, and made strengthening learning an important and urgent task throughout the whole process of all our work. We carefully studied and followed the guiding principles of the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee, and stressed the need to align our thinking and actions with the Central Committee's decision on and arrangements for comprehensively deepening reform and to get the NPC to fully play its role as the country's highest organ of state power in comprehensively deepening reform. We improved the system of Standing Committee lectures on special topics, selected lecture topics in line with the central work and meeting agendas of the Standing Committee, and strove to make sure that something useful was learned at the lectures.
We got the special committees of the NPC to fully play their role. Focusing on the central tasks of the NPC and its Standing Committee, the special committees made use of the abundant talent and immense knowledge of their members; vigorously carried out investigations and studies in line with their own functions and duties; conscientiously did research and deliberated and drafted bills related to their field; strengthened communication and coordination with relevant parties; and did a great deal of very fruitful work in improving quality of legislation, making oversight more effective, getting deputies to play their role, and developing foreign relations.
We increased ties with local people's congresses. We held three study courses for leaders of the standing committees of local people's congresses and one study course on the work of people's congresses in Tibet, held the Nineteenth National Conference on Local Legislation, had the standing committees of provincial-level people's congresses investigate compliance with laws, and kept local people's congresses informed about the work of the NPC Standing Committee. Members of the Chairperson's Council conducted investigations and studies in localities, solicited the views of leaders of the standing committees of local people's congresses and deputies to people's congresses at all levels in various ways, learned about local conditions, studied issues, and gave impetus to relevant work. All this made communication and exchanges between the national and local people's congresses closer and deeper.
The bodies of the NPC thoroughly carried out the campaign to heighten awareness of and implement the Party's mass line. As a result, their Party members, officials and staff further fortified their Communist ideals and convictions, heightened their awareness of the Party's purpose, boosted their morale, improved their style of work, and became noticeably better at assisting and supporting deputies.
The Standing Committee's achievements last year were made under the correct leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary and are the result of the hard work of NPC deputies, members of the NPC Standing Committee and special committees, and the staff of the offices of the NPC; the joint efforts of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; and the full support of the local people's congresses at all levels and their standing committees as well as the people of all of China's ethnic groups. On behalf of the NPC Standing Committee, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation to you all.
We are keenly aware that the work of the Standing Committee still falls well short of the expectations of the people and the demands of deputies. For example, the Standing Committee still has to strengthen its organization and coordination of legislative work; improve its mechanisms for follow-up oversight; address the problems of inadequate engagement with lower-level organizations and the people and inadequate response to people's concerns that exist in some investigations and studies on legislation and oversight; and do more meticulous and effective work in order to strengthen its ties with deputies. We will willingly accept the oversight of the people; listen to the views of deputies with an open mind; and get the NPC and its Standing Committee to better play their roles as the highest organs of state power, working bodies that carry out their functions and duties in accordance with the law, and representative bodies in close contact with the people.
Major Tasks for This Year
The year 2014 is the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles of the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee and its decision to comprehensively deepen reform and is crucial for completing all the tasks of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan. The general requirements for the work the NPC Standing Committee this year are as follows: Hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics; take Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development as the guide; comprehensively implement the guiding principles of the Eighteenth National Party Congress and the second and third plenary sessions of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee; study and implement the guidelines of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches; firmly uphold the unity of the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law; focus on the overall work of the Party and country as we perform our official functions and carry out our work in accordance with the law; strengthen legislation in key areas; strengthen oversight of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; safeguard the authority of the Constitution and laws; promote social fairness and justice; get the system of people's congresses to advance with the times; and make a greater contribution to comprehensively deepening reform, finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
1. We will strengthen legislation in key areas and legislate scientifically and democratically.
The power to enact laws for the country is the most important official function conferred on the NPC and its Standing Committee by the Constitution. The Eighteenth National Party Congress set forth the requirement of improving the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. The Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee made overall arrangements for comprehensively deepening reform, many of which are about the legislative work of the NPC. To attain the overall goals of deepening reform in all respects, namely, improving and developing the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China's governance system and its governance capacity, the NPC Standing Committee will better combine legislative decisions with reform decisions, promptly enact and revise laws related to comprehensively deepening reform, use the legal system to promote and carry out reform measures, and get legislation to fully play its role in guiding, spurring and guaranteeing reform.
We will implement the Central Committee's decision to comprehensively deepen reform, revise the Budget Law, improve the budget management system, and put in place a comprehensive, standardized, open and transparent budgeting system. We will revise the Administrative Procedures Law and the Law on Administrative Review to improve the mechanisms for hearing administrative litigation and reconsideration cases, correct illegal or improper administrative actions, and make the mechanism for protecting people's rights and interests more accessible and better regulated. We will revise the Environmental Protection Law and the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law to improve the environmental protection and management system so that emissions of all pollutants can be supervised strictly, and enforce the strictest systems for protecting the environment by controlling pollution at the source, holding polluters accountable for the damage they cause and having them compensate for it. Other items on the Standing Committee's legislative agenda for this year are as follows: Revise the Legislation Law, the Food Safety Law, the Production Safety Law, the Securities Law, the Advertising Law, the Military Equipment Protection Law, and the Education Law; and enact the Asset Evaluation Law, the Waterway Law, the State Medals and Honorary Titles Law, the Futures Law, the Grain Law, and the Chinese Medicines Law.
For reform measures set forth by the CPC Central Committee that require enacting or revising laws or legal authorization, we will intensify research, promptly get started, arrange deliberation at appropriate times, and ensure that major reforms have a legal basis and are carried out in an orderly way. On the basis of the principle of proceeding actively and prudently, we will strengthen the organization and coordination of legislative work and urge those drafting legislation to do so quickly. For laws connected to issues that are complex and where there are sharp differences of opinion, we need to coordinate the interests of all parties in an overall manner, appropriately resolve key problems, and effectively prevent departmental interests from being written into law and local protectionism. We will better interpret laws to ensure they are enforced properly and effectively.
The quality of legislative work directly affects how well the rule of law is implemented. The more we emphasize the rule of law, the more important it is to raise the quality of legislation. We need to make legislating scientifically and democratically the basis for improving the quality of legislation, and integrate legislating scientifically and democratically into the praxis of the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and into the entire course and all aspects of legislative work.
The essence of legislating scientifically is respecting and embodying objective law in enacting legislation. In the concrete praxis of legislation, we need to continue improving legislative procedures and standardize legislative action so as to improve the legislative system with Chinese characteristics. We need to fully debate legislative items, scientifically determine legislative items, and improve the system for evaluating laws before and after they are promulgated. We need to enact, revise, annul and interpret laws to make legislative work better coordinated, less delayed and more systematic. We need to strengthen investigation on legislative matters, correctly identify important and challenging issues in legislation, search for scientific solutions to them, and make laws more enforceable and practicable.
The essence of legislating democratically is relying on the people and legislating for their benefit. In the concrete praxis of legislation, we need to improve the legislative work mechanism of following the guidance of legislative bodies, having relevant government departments participate in making laws, and involving NPC deputies, experts, representatives from enterprises and public institutions as well as social groups, people's organizations, and members of the general public in legislative work. We will improve the mechanism for promulgating draft laws to solicit comments and suggestions on them and the mechanism for giving feedback to those who made suggestions. We will pay attention to the opinions people express online and expand the avenues by which people can participate in legislation in an orderly way. We will expand the role of NPC deputies in the legislative process and intimately integrate the deliberation of deputies' bills and the handling of their proposals with the work of enacting and revising laws, and study and accept deputies' suggestions. We will improve the mechanism for coordinating and consulting on the drafting and deliberation of laws, listen to and deal with suggestions from all sources including opposing views, fully respect and make proper use of all kinds of constructive criticisms and suggestions, and achieve popular consensus to the greatest possible extent.
2. We will carry out our oversight functions in accordance with the law and strengthening oversight of the State Council, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Strengthening the NPC's oversight is a necessary requirement for implementing the rule of law as the basic strategy. The Eighteenth National Party Congress set forth the requirement that people's congresses should step up their oversight of people's governments, courts and procuratorates, and tighten their examination and oversight of all government budgets and final accounts. The Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee stressed the need to strengthen the system under which people's governments, courts and procuratorates are engendered by people's congresses, responsible to them and subject to their oversight; the need to strengthen people's congresses' function of examining and overseeing government budgets and final accounts and overseeing state assets; and that people's congresses should actively respond to issues of public concern through the use of inquiries, interpellations and investigations into specific problems and records review. We need to fully implement the guidelines of the Central Committee and the provisions of the Oversight Law and raise the NPC's oversight work to a new level.
First, we need to exercise our oversight power in accordance with the law. People's congresses' oversight of the people's governments, courts and procuratorates is legally effective oversight exercised on behalf of the country and people, and reflects the constitutional principle that all state power belongs to the people. People's congresses' power to exercise oversight is a statuary power, as are the procedures and methods for exercising it. The NPC and its Standing Committee should faithfully carry out the duties conferred on it by the Constitution and laws, exercise oversight courageously and effectively, and ensure that oversight work is done within the legally specified limits of power and in accordance with legally specified procedures.
Second, we need to exercise oversight in light of the Party and country's work. We need to focus oversight on major reform, development and stability issues and on sensitive issues of particular concern to the people; strengthen oversight of compliance with the Constitution and laws; strengthen constraints on and oversight of the exercise of power; give impetus to the implementation of the Central Committee's major policy decisions and agendas; correctly balance overseeing the State Council, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate and supporting their work, and see to it that they administer affairs in accordance with the law and administer justice fairly; and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.
Third, we need to improve the way oversight work is carried out. We will continue to carry out inquiries on special topics, improve methods of organization and work mechanisms, and make work more targeted and effective. We will improve the system for records review of administrative regulations, local statutes, judicial interpretations and other normative documents. We will improve the way we inspect compliance with laws, exercise oversight and conduct investigations and studies, conscientiously listen to and respond to people's concerns, and raise weighty criticisms and suggestions with a definite purpose in mind. We will exhort those, to whom Standing Committee members have made suggestions after deliberations, to conscientiously look into and handle these suggestions and improve their work in earnest.
On the basis of the above principles and thinking on oversight work, the main oversight work the Standing Committee this year will be as follows:
First, we will investigate compliance with the Tourism Law and the Patent Law, and promote comprehensive and correct implementation of them.
Second, we will listen to and deliberate reports on the country's plan for economic and social development and central and local government budgets as well as on the final accounts and auditing work of the central government, deliberate and approve the central government's final accounts for 2013, listen to and deliberate the report on the allocation and use of government spending on water conservancy, carry out special investigations and studies on the preparation and management of departmental budgets, give impetus to the implementation of the general work guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, carry out reform and innovation in all areas of economic and social development, and genuinely improve the quality and returns of economic development.
Third, we will listen to and deliberate reports of the State Council on deepening reform of the system of government review and approval and strengthening financial supervision and regulation to prevent financial risks, carry out special investigations and studies on compliance with the Civil Service Law, give impetus to the implementation of the Central Committee's policy decisions and agendas for comprehensively deepening reform in order to accelerate reforms in important areas.
Fourth, we will listen to the report of the State Council on conserving energy and reducing emissions; investigate compliance with the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law; carry out special investigations and studies on preventing and controlling soil pollution; exhort relevant departments to solve prominent environmental problems; and strengthen ecological conservation.
Fifth, we will listen to and deliberate reports of the State Council on carrying forward the development of social security systems for urban and rural residents in a holistic way, the building of a new countryside, and production safety; investigate compliance with the Law on the Protection of Minors; carry out special investigations and studies on economic and social development in ethnic minority areas; respond to the people's concerns; and exhort relevant departments to solve prominent problems that concern the people the most and affect their vital interests.
Sixth, we will separately listen to and deliberate reports of the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate on how they have been standardizing their judicial conduct in order to improve judicial fairness, promote social fairness and justice, and ensure that the people can live and work in peace and contentment.
3. We will continue to strengthen and improve work related to deputy services, foreign contacts, and self-improvement.
We will improve the system for work related to deputies, effectively provide them with services and get them to fully play their role.
First, we will strengthen relations between the Standing Committee and deputies. Members of the Chairperson's Council need to increase their exchanges with deputies they are partnered with through visits, phone calls and letters. When they go on trips to inspect compliance with laws or carry out investigations and studies or inspections, deputies they are partnered with should be invited to take part in relevant activities. We will establish a work mechanism for Standing Committee members and special committees to maintain contacts with NPC deputies, especially strengthen contacts with local-level deputies to the NPC, and ensure that social conditions and popular sentiment find ways to be heard. We will improve the mechanism for deputies to participate in the work of the Standing Committee and special committees, strive to make sure that all local-level deputies to the NPC can sit in on at least one Standing Committee meeting during their five-year term of office, and invite more deputies to participate in activities including inspections of compliance with laws and investigations and studies for pending legislation.
Second, we will foster closer links between deputies and the people. We will improve the system for deputies to maintain close ties with the people, strengthen deputy contact offices, build a sound online platform, improve the work of inspection tours and investigations and studies on special topics by deputies, widen the channels and enrich the content of deputies' contacts with the people, and make better use of deputies' special role in understanding public feelings, reporting on popular sentiment and drawing on the wisdom of the people.
Third, we will better serve deputies carrying out their duties. We will raise the quality of our handling of bills and proposals by deputies, expand the avenues by which deputies learn about what goes on in the NPC and the government as a whole, carry out special training sessions for deputies, and make sure that local-level deputies to the NPC attend at least one training session during their five-year tenure.
We will conscientiously implement the major policies and principles and overall arrangements of the CPC Central Committee for the country's diplomatic work; strengthen exchanges and cooperation with parliaments and congresses of major countries, other developing countries, and neighboring countries; and strengthen and improve the mechanism for regular exchanges with foreign parliaments and congresses. We will develop diplomatic contacts through multiple channels in various ways; enhance mutual political trust, promote pragmatic cooperation and deepen friendship among our peoples; create a beneficial external environment for our country's reform, development and stability; and make our proper contribution to safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting common development.
We will continue to strengthen the Standing Committee's self-improvement, adhere to the correct political orientation of the NPC's work, uphold the Party's leadership of the NPC's work, and firmly safeguard the authority of the Central Committee. We will uphold the principle of democratic centralism. We will implement the Party's mass line, genuinely increase our sense of political responsibility in representing the people in exercising the power of administering the country, and wholeheartedly serve the people. We will strengthen investigations and studies on new developments and problems that arise in the NPC's work concerning the Central Committee's major policy decisions and arrangements, and improve the NPC's work related to legislation, oversight and deputies. We will strengthen and promote publicity of and education in the legal system and create a sound atmosphere in which everyone study, respect, abide by, and apply the law. We will strictly abide by the Central Committee's eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct, improve the systems for regularly improving the conduct of the NPC and practicing thrift, and firmly uphold the sanctity and authority of rules and regulations. We will continue to deliver special topic lectures to the Standing Committee, improve organizational methods, expand the scope of study, and obtain better results from study. We will strengthen leadership of the work of the special committees and give full play to their role. We will strengthen work relations with local people's congresses, strengthen work coordination, develop work exchanges, raise the overall effectiveness of the work of people's congresses, and work together to promote the building of socialist democracy and the socialist rule of law. NPC bodies should continue to strengthen their ranks on the basis of the requirements that their staff have firm ideals, are politically reliable and professionally competent, have a good work style, and are honest and industrious.
September this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the NPC. Through practice we have fully verified that the system of people's congresses is the fundamental political system that conforms to China's national conditions, reflects the socialist nature of the state and guarantees the people's position as masters of the country, and is also the best way the Party can implement the mass line and make democracy flourish in organizations of state power. We should make the most of the occasion of commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the NPC to fully publicize the glorious history, outstanding achievements and practical experience of the system of people's congresses, as well as the great superiority of our country's fundamental political system, firmly maintain our confidence in the system of people's congresses, and advance it with the times.
A new journey of reform and opening up is summoning us, and new expectations of the people are energizing us. Let us rally closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary; take Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development as our guide; comprehensively implement the guidelines of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches; work together as one; advance resolutely; do solid work; and strive mightily to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, constantly achieve new successes in socialism with Chinese characteristics, and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.