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National People’s Congress 2023

A Reading Roundup

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.

This year the Congress opened on March 5 with outgoing Premier Li Keqiang delivering his final government work report. You can read the entire English version here. The South China Morning Post covered the speech as it happened; you can read the highlights here.

Xi Jinping was elected to a third term as State President, a ceremonial position that actually has little to no power. Xi’s power lies in his position as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and as Chairman of the China Military Commission.

The new State Council (cabinet) was also introduced, so we now know the names of the men who will govern China for the next five years.

Here is a roundup of some reporting and analysis of the Congress.

Factbox: Key Takeaways from China’s Annual NPC Parliamentary Meeting (Reuters)
This is an excellent summary.

What to Know about Li Qiang, China’s New Premier (NPR)
John Ruwitch looks at Li’s career and priorities as he takes over running the government.

Xi Jinping Brings China’s Reform Era to an End (The Wall Street Journal—subscription required)
Ling Ling Wei shows how “bit by bit, Mr. Xi has torn down the fundaments of the Chinese governance model that Deng built.” It really is the end of an era.

After Years of Isolation, Xi’s China Looks to Dominate World Stage (The Guardian)
The Congress closed with a speech by Xi Jinping. The Guardian looks at his ambition to become a major player in global affairs.

What Party Control Means in China (The Economist)
This article looks at the moves to reinstate more direct Party control over the functions of government, and the implications.

To read more full documents, check out the website NPC Observer.

Finally, because I believe it’s good for us to hear China’s perspective of itself, here is the new national propaganda video titled “This is Me.”

There is no question that we are in a new era. To learn more about how Christians in China are responding to this new era, be sure to read the latest edition of the ChinaSource Quarterly.

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Image credit: Zachary Keimig via UnSplash.

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

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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