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Congress Is in Session


Today (March 5) marks the opening day of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing. For the next couple of weeks, the NPC, sometimes referred to as China’s parliament, will be meeting in Beijing to evaluate the work of the government for the past year and approve plans for the coming legislative year.

According to Xinhua, some of the items on this year’s agenda are:

  • Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It’s not exactly a slogan that rolls off one’s tongue, but it will form the ideological underpinning of the government and Party going forward.
  • Electing new state leaders, including (one presumes) Xi Jinping for another five-year term as State President.
  • Plans to eliminate absolute poverty in the country by 2020. Currently, the poverty rate stands at 3.1%.
  • Revisions to the constitution, including a proposed amendment that seems to pave the way for Xi Jinping to remain in power beyond his second term in office.

Even though the NPC meets only once a year, for two weeks, and serves as a “rubber stamp” for what has already been decided by Party and government leaders, it is an important window into what the Chinese leadership is thinking and planning.

A helpful resource for keeping track of all things NPC is a blog called NPC Observer. A list of specific things expected to be on the NPC agenda this year can be found here.

You can also watch for a special section in ZGBriefs the next couple of weeks for more information on the NPC meetings as they proceed.

Image credit: ZhengZhou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Senior Vice President of ChinaSource. She is the editor of ZGBriefs and Chinese Church Voices, as well as a regular contributor to ChinaSource publications. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and most recently,... View Full Bio