Every year in the month of March, the city of Beijing nearly grinds to a halt for the annual “Two Meetings”—the gathering of the National People’s Congress (NPC, China’s legislative body) and the National People’s Consultative Conference (NPCC, an advisory body to the NPC). Here’s how I described them in a post in 2016:
While the Chinese Communist Party (specifically the Standing Committee of the Politburo) makes all the decisions, the National People’s Congress (NPC) “approves” the decisions, thus giving the impression that representatives of the people are voting on the laws. The NPC is sometimes referred to as China’s parliament or legislature, but it only meets in session once a year (in March) and the proposed laws are never voted down. This is one of the two “meetings.”
The other meeting is the China People’s Political Consultative Conference (NPPCC). This group is made up of delegates from various segments of society (education, arts, religion, sports, etc.) whose main function is to make suggestions to the NPC regarding laws and regulations.
Due to the COVID crisis in China this year, the “Two Meetings” were postponed to late May, and the length shortened. Nevertheless, the meetings (as always) provide an interesting look at what the Party-state claims to have accomplished in the past year, and where it intends to go.
Significant developments that emerged from this year’s Congress include:
- the adoption of a Civil Code;
- the adoption of a National Security Law for Hong Kong;
- an increase in the military budget;
- and the failure to announce new economic growth targets for the coming year.
For those interested in taking a deeper look at the doings of the “Two Meetings,” here are some resources and articles to help.
Even though Chinese political rhetoric can, at times, be difficult for outsiders to understand I still think that it is always good to start by reading the original documents. So we’ll begin with those.
- The official English translation of Premier Li Keqiang’s government work report can be found here.
- China Law Translate has posted unofficial English translations of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and the Civil Code.
- NPC Observer has links to the other key original documents from the meetings.
- Xinhua, China’s official news agency has numerous articles and documents in a special section, including a flashy video, China’s Long March to Xiaokang (moderate prosperity).
For outside analysis, I recommend the following resources:
- Video: Xi Addresses National People’s Congress (May 22, 2020, The New York Times)
- Video: Two Sessions, Two Directions, Many Challenges (May 29, 2020, National Committee on US-China Relations)
- China’s National People’s Congress: Soft on the Outside, Hard at the Centre (May 31, 2020, East Asia Forum)
- Video: After China’s National People’s Congress: What’s New? What’s Next? (June 1, 2020, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Until next year . . .
Image credit: Patrick Denker, via Flickr.
Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio
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