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Full Text: Work report of NPC Standing Committee(3)

2013-03-20 16:43 Xinhua     Web Editor: Gu Liping comment

2. Focusing on the overall work of the Party and country in doing the NPC's work

The NPC's work is an important part of the Party and country's work. It touches on every aspect of the overall development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and bears on the smooth advance of reform, opening up and socialist modernization. Our work can satisfy the Party and the people only by being subordinate to and serving the overall work of the Party and country. We always planned and carried out the NPC's work in reference to the overall development of the Party and country's cause, coordinated our legislative and oversight work on the basis of the role and characteristics of the NPC's work, concentrated our strengths, set priorities, sought real results, and worked to spur the implementation of major policies and arrangements of the central leadership.

First, keeping to the main thread of accelerating the change of the growth model, we worked for development in a scientific manner. In light of China's prominent problems, such as a skewed industrial structure, weak capability for scientific and technological innovation, and lagging development of modern service industries, and in response to the impact of the global financial crisis, the Standing Committee, in addition to annually deliberating reports on the implementation of the plans for national economic and social development, also listened to and deliberated reports on responding to the financial crisis, changing the growth model, adjusting the economic structure, developing the service and tourism industries, and the progress report on the implementation of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. It also investigated compliance with the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress and revised the Patent Law. Members of the Standing Committee stressed that China's extensive growth model had already become unsustainable, it was imperative to accelerate economic structural adjustment, and this task had been made more prominent and urgent by the global financial crisis. We should strike a balance between solving immediate difficulties and achieving long-term development, transform serious challenges into development opportunities, transform market pressure into an impetus for adjustment, adhere to the strategic focus of boosting domestic demand, and work harder than before to raise the quality and performance of economic growth, so that the process of combating the global financial crisis becomes a process of making our development more sustainable. One, we should accelerate transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, endeavor to develop strategic emerging industries and advanced manufacturing industries, and elevate enterprises higher up industrial chains and make them more profitable. Two, we should energetically develop service industries, especially modern service industries, integrate their development with that of manufacturing and modern agriculture, and increase their share of the economy. Three, we should improve the technological innovation system that assigns enterprises the leading role, gets its orientation from the market, and connects enterprises, universities and research institutes together, closely integrate science and technology with industry and banking, scale up investment in science and technology, strive to make breakthroughs in key and core technologies, quicken the pace of industrial application of scientific and technological advances, and strengthen IPR protection, to make economic growth more innovation-driven.

Improving the socialist market economy and promoting coordinated development of the public and non-public sectors of the economy are an important aspect of accelerating the change of the growth model. The Property Rights Law, enacted by the Tenth NPC, reflects our basic economic system in the primary stage of socialism and establishes the principle of equal protection of property rights for all. The Standing Committee of the Eleventh NPC enacted the Law on State-Owned Assets of Enterprises, which protects the rights and interests of state-owned assets and prevents their loss. After listening to and deliberating reports on reforming and developing state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and advancing development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we emphasized the need to unswervingly develop the public sector, concentrate state-owned capital in important industries and key areas, deepen SOE reform, improve the oversight system for state-owned assets and the budget system for state capital operations, cultivate public opinion favorable for SOE reform and development, and increase the capacity of the state-owned sector to exercise control and influence. We also stressed the need to unwaveringly develop the non-public sector; work hard to improve the development environment of SMEs; broaden their financing channels; relax restrictions on their market access; and ensure that economic entities under all forms of ownership have equal access to factors of production in accordance with the law, compete on a level playing field and enjoy equal protection of the law.

The Standing Committee always placed importance on spurring the resolution of problems related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers. We enacted the Law on Mediation and Arbitration of Rural Land Contract Management Disputes; revised the Law on Disseminating Agricultural Technology; investigated compliance with the Agriculture Law and four other agriculture-related laws; and listened to and deliberated six reports on such issues as national food security, irrigation and water conservancy, and ensuring steady increase of farmers' income. We emphasized the need to implement the system of providing the strictest possible protection for farmland; effectively protect farmers' contracted land-use rights; increase investment in main grain-producing areas and in construction on irrigation and water conservancy facilities; increase the share scientific and technological advances contribute to agricultural development; and develop specialized, standardized, large-scale, and intensive production. We also stressed the need to improve the policy of boosting agriculture, benefiting farmers and increasing rural prosperity; increase government spending on agriculture, rural areas and farmers; strengthen development of modern agriculture; support farmers in finding nonagricultural employment through multiple channels; develop a new socialist countryside; and promote integrated development of urban and rural areas.

In response to the severe challenges brought on by intensifying resources and environmental constraints, the Standing Committee enacted the Law on Promoting the Circular Economy and revised the Law on Renewable Energy, the Law on Water and Soil Conservation, and the Law on Promoting Clean Production. It listened to and deliberated reports on environmental protection, prevention and control of water pollution, and management of land and mineral resources, and it investigated compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Law, the Law on Promoting Clean Production and the Energy Conservation Law. All this work promoted green, circular and low-carbon development and socialist ecological progress by legislative means. After listening to and deliberating the State Council's report on its response to climate change, the Standing Committee adopted a resolution on actively addressing climate change, which further defined the guiding thought, basic principles and required measures in this area, and stressed the need to adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and to actively cope with global climate change together with the international community. The State Council attached great importance to implementing this resolution and set forth action targets for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, which not only safeguarded China's development interests, but also projected its good image in the world and won widespread acclaim from the international community.

To implement the guiding principles of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Party's Seventeenth National Congress, the Standing Committee listened to and deliberated reports on reform of the cultural system and development of the cultural industry. It enacted the Intangible Cultural Heritage Law and investigated compliance with the Law on the Protection of Cultural Relics. Standing Committee members emphasized that to achieve great cultural development and enrichment, it is necessary to adhere to the orientation of advanced socialist culture and the socialist path of making cultural advances with Chinese characteristics, give high priority to social benefits, continue to deepen reform of cultural institutions and mechanisms, and improve the system of public cultural services. They also emphasized the need to greatly develop cultural programs, actively develop the cultural industry, promote fine traditional Chinese culture, and better satisfy people's intellectual and cultural needs.

Second, we strengthened and made innovations in social management in order to promote social harmony and stability. We adopted a decision to strengthen Internet information protection in order to ensure the law-based and orderly operation of the Internet and protect the security of the electronic information of citizens and legal persons. In recent years, the fast development and wide application of network technologies has been instrumental in stimulating economic and social development, but it has also given rise to many serious problems. There were extensive and loud calls in society for stronger social management of the Internet and crackdown on cybercrime. NPC deputies also put forth many bills and proposals, and demanded that a law on cyber security be enacted as soon as possible. The Standing Committee thoroughly reviewed practical experience in developing and managing the Internet, analyzed other countries' legislation concerning the Internet, and solicited opinions from all sectors, and on this basis used statutory means to protect the security of the electronic information of citizens and legal persons and established the online ID management system. It spelled out the obligations and responsibilities of Internet service providers and conferred necessary means of oversight and supervision on competent government departments. This decision of the Standing Committee is of great significance for promoting social harmony, safeguarding national security and political stability, and ensuring enduring peace and stability of the country.

In enacting the People's Mediation Law, the Standing Committee reviewed the good experience and methods of people's mediation, incorporated into law this uniquely Chinese way of resolving disputes without recourse to litigation, clarified its relationship with other mechanisms for resolving disputes, and strengthened support and guarantees for the work of people's mediation, so as to resolve people's disputes and social problems at the community level and nip them in the bud. To prevent and reduce social problems arising from medical misadventures, environmental pollution and defective products, the Standing Committee defined the principle of liability attribution and the scope and standards of compensation in the Law on Tort Liability, which will better help balance interests and resolve disputes. In order to strengthen the public safety system, we revised the Road Traffic Safety Law and the Fire Protection Law in a timely manner, and listened to and deliberated relevant work reports. We stressed the need to keep alert to potential risks, tirelessly deal with them, mete out heavier penalties to perpetrators of traffic accidents, better equip places with a high concentration of people with firefighting equipment, and eliminate latent hazards, in order to effectively protect people's lives and property. In order to enhance social management and services at the community level, we carried out investigations and studies on problems related to urban community development, and emphasized the need to make full use of China's political and institutional strengths, make community-level Party and government organizations and urban and rural community-based self-governing organizations better able to exercise social management and provide public services, and strive to make social management more scientific.

Third, we helped advance reform in key areas with the focus on recondite problems in reform and development. Since the adoption of reform and opening up, the income of both urban and rural residents has risen and their lives have improved. However, some prominent conflicts and problems have emerged in income distribution. Properly adjusting income distribution is not only a major reform bearing on the overall situation, but also an objective requirement for changing the growth model. The Standing Committee attached great importance to this issue. In 2010, it listed national income distribution as a key topic for investigation and study, and made suggestions on formulating a plan as soon as possible for carrying out income distribution reform, which served as important reference material for the central leadership in drawing up the Twelfth Five-Year Plan. In 2011, the Standing Committee organized and carried out investigations and studies on raising the proportion of individual income in the national income, increasing the proportion of work remuneration in primary distribution, improving the way income is distributed and making better use of taxation in adjusting income. We called on everyone involved to conscientiously attain the objectives and fulfill the tasks of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, narrow the growing income gap as soon as possible, and form a reasonable and orderly pattern of income distribution, so that everyone shares in the fruits of development.

In light of problems we found during investigations and studies such as too many local government financing corporations, insufficient standardization of debt financing, and the inability of many regions and industries to repay their debts, we proposed that the government should work to guard against and defuse local government debt risks. The State Council began auditing local government debt in December 2010 and reported the results to the Standing Committee in its 2011 report on auditing work. At the same time, we conducted investigations and studies on how to defuse local government debt risks. Members of the Standing Committee stressed the need to promptly put local government financing corporations in order, deal with existing local government debts on the basis of their circumstances and type, and gradually defuse local government debt risks. They also stressed the need for local governments to include revenue and expenditures of their debts in their budgets and subject them to review and oversight by the people's congress at the same level, and for local governments to prepare their budgets on the basis of the principle of balancing accounts by keeping expenditures within the bounds of revenue and not allowing a deficit.

Establishing a sound mechanism to ensure basic funding for county-level governments is essential for strengthening them and carrying out overall economic and social development. To help county-level governments that have financial difficulties, when examining the final accounts of the central government in 2008, the Standing Committee declared that a mechanism ensuring payment of wages and salaries, normal government operations and people's wellbeing should be established within two to three years to ensure basic funding for county-level governments. Then we conducted many investigations and studies, and listened to and deliberated the State Council's report on this issue in 2012. While fully affirming the positive results in ensuring basic funding for county-level governments, members of the Standing Committee emphasized the need to properly define the spending responsibilities of county-level governments, raise the proportion of general transfer payments, vigorously develop county economies, progressively establish a system in which the financial resources of the central and local governments are in line with their responsibilities, and make these governments better able to provide basic public services.

In the wake of the massive earthquake that hit Wenchuan, Sichuan Province, in May 2008, we sprang into action under the direction of the central leadership and held a meeting of the Chairperson's Council to listen to the State Council's report on the earthquake. On the basis of the principle of taking special measures in special situations, we proposed that the central budget stabilization fund should be used to establish a fund for post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction to meet the actual requirements of earthquake-devastated areas. At its June meeting, the Standing Committee listened to the State Council's report on earthquake relief and adopted a resolution to fully support the work of the State Council and other parties and called on people throughout the country to support earthquake-hit areas and get through the hard times together. At the meeting we also approved the revision of the 2008 central budget to ensure funding for earthquake relief and post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction. Based on its review of the practical experience in earthquake relief, the Standing Committee made major revisions at its December meeting to the Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters, thereby providing legal guarantees for earthquake relief and post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

The power to interpret the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) belongs to the NPC Standing Committee. The Standing Committee examined and approved the interpretations of Paragraph 1 of Article 13 and of Article 19 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR, and made it clear that state immunity falls under the category of diplomatic affairs, that the power to decide rules and policies concerning state immunity belongs to the central government, and that the HKSAR must abide by unified state rules and policies on state immunity. This was the first time the Court of Final Appeals of the HKSAR, in the course of adjudicating a case, requested the Standing Committee to render an interpretation concerning articles of the Basic Law pertaining to matters administered by the Central People's Government and relations between the central government and the special administrative region. The Standing Committee also examined and approved the interpretations of Article 7 of Annex I and Article 3 of Annex II of the Basic Law of the MSAR to clarify the procedures for revising the methods for selecting the Chief Executive of the MSAR and forming its Legislative Council. On the basis of careful deliberation of a report by the Chief Executive of the MSAR, the Standing Committee adopted a decision on the methods for forming the Legislative Council of the MSAR in 2013 and selecting its Chief Executive in 2014. The Standing Committee approved or kept on file the amendments to the methods for selecting the chief executives of the HKSAR and MSAR and forming their legislative councils. These interpretations and decisions of the Standing Committee ensured the implementation of the principle of "one country, two systems" and the comprehensive and correct implementation of the two basic laws.

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