Closer Look: What to Expect from This Year's 'Two Sessions'
(Beijing) – This year's coinciding meetings of China's top legislative and political advisory bodies are slated to start in the first week of March. In addition to routine reviews of government work, discussions will be held on proceeding with reforms of the judicial system, budgetary and tax matters, and regional development.
The annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) opens on March 5, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) convenes on March 3. The sessions are known as "lianghui," or two meetings.
Premier Li Keqiang will as usual deliver a government work report to legislators at the opening ceremony of the NPC. A draft of the report was sent to local governments so they could offer their opinions after a January 19 meeting of the State Council, or cabinet. In late January, Li held three seminars with experts from various backgrounds to discuss the report. A discussion on the document was also held by members of the Politburo, the Communist Party's 25-member decision-making body, on February 12.
The report usually summarizes the government's work and achievements over the previous year, and sets out plans and targets for the next year so the NPC and CPPCC can review them.
NPC and CPPCC delegates will also review work reports from the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court, and receive budget reports from central and local levels of government.
This year, the NPC will also deliberate on a draft amendment of the Legislation Law, which regulates the procedure for creating national and local laws and government regulations and also defines legislative powers.
The proposal would grant great legislative power to local authorities, increasing the number of cities with such powers from 49 to 282. It will also restrict local governments from issuing regulations to intervene in the interests of residents, business and social organizations.
The party has said China must "comprehensively advance the rule of law." This means that steps taken by the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court to accomplish the reform plan put forward at the fourth full meeting of the party's 18th Central Committee in October will be watched closely.
The central government's setting of this year's target for economic growth will also attract great attention. Amid a continuing economic downturn, many analysts predicted that the goal for the year will be set at around 7 percent, with more emphasis on reforms and structural adjustments.
Measures to push forward fiscal and taxation reforms will also receive great attention. Priorities include addressing the debt problems of local governments, continuing the reform of state-owned enterprises and continuing experiments with free-trade zones.
In addition, considering Beijing's plan to develop the New Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in a bid to enhance regional cooperation, local governments are expected to make changes to boost their economic growth and improve partnerships with neighbors. The policies put forward by central and local authorities to pursue this development will be a highlight of this year's lianghui.
(Rewritten by Han Wei)
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