Following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which was delivered by Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the NPC Standing Committee on March 9, 2016 for review at the Fourth Session of the 12th NPC and adopted on March 16, 2016:
REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS
Delivered at the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress on March 9, 2016
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
On behalf of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), I now present to you this report on the work of the Standing Committee for your deliberation.
Major Initiatives of the Past Year
In the past year, under the firm leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, the NPC Standing Committee comprehensively implemented the guiding principles of the 18th National Party Congress and the third, fourth, and fifth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee; followed the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development; and fully grasped and put into practice the guiding principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping's major policy addresses.
Remaining committed to integrating leadership by the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the law-based governance of the country, and acting in accordance with the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy, we maintained a tight focus on the overall work of the Party and country as we performed our functions and powers and carried out our work in accordance with the law.
Over the past year, the Standing Committee enacted five laws, revised 37 laws and one decision on legal issues, resolved to present the draft of the Charity Law to this session of the NPC for deliberation and approval,and passed eight decisions on legal issues. We inspected compliance with six laws; heard and deliberated 17 work reports from the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; conducted three inquiries and three research projects; and passed two resolutions. We deliberated and approved eight reports from the NPC's special committees regarding their examination of deputies' proposals, as well as six reports from the Credentials Committee pertaining to its review of certain deputies' qualifications. We ratified 11 treaties and agreements with foreign countries or international conventions that China had concluded, and made decisions on or approved the appointment or removal of a number of officials of state bodies. Making progress and achievements in all aspects of our work, we have accomplished all the tasks set forth at the Third Session of the 12th NPC in 2015.
Leadership by the Party is the essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as well as its greatest strength. We have incorporated the leadership of the Party into every process and aspect of the NPC's work, upheld the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and ensured that our thinking, actions, and politics all maintain a high degree of unity with the Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping. In coordinating the NPC's initiatives and activities concerning legislation, oversight, decision making, personnel appointments and dismissals, deputies, foreign relations, information and publicity, theoretical research, and contact with and guidance over local people's congresses, we have maintained the right political direction and worked to ensure that the Party's line, principles, policies, decisions, and plans are fully and effectively implemented in the work of the state, and that the Party can exercise leadership over the state and society through the organs of political power.
1. We made new strides in key areas of legislation.
The law is of great value in the governance of a country, and good laws are a prerequisite for good governance. Focusing on the key task of raising the quality of legislation, we channeled great effort into advancing legislation in key areas. Large in number, considerable in weight, and rapid in pace, our initiatives in legislation led to a number of important achievements that have supported and promoted the country's reform and development and ensured its stability.
1) Legislation on national security was enhanced.
The National Security Law represents a comprehensive, overarching, and fundamental law in the field of national security, playing a central role in the establishment of a system of national security laws. Acting in line with the Party Central Committee's overall plan for accelerating the development of rule of law in China's national security efforts, the Standing Committee gave high priority to the enactment of a national security law which was passed after three deliberations. As an important piece of legislation, the National Security Law embodies an integrative approach to national security, and defines national security in the context of China's conditions and realities. It sets out express provisions regarding the guiding notions, leadership system, basic principles, major tasks, and safeguard measures of China's security initiatives, thus laying a solid legal foundation for accelerating the establishment of a national security system and taking a distinctly Chinese approach to national security.
The fight against terrorism has an important bearing on China's national security, on the people's immediate interests, and on the country's reform, development, and stability. In the face of a grave and complex situation in the fight against terrorism both at home and abroad, it is of crucial importance that China intensifies its anti-terrorism initiatives. With this in mind, the Standing Committee adopted the Anti-Terrorism Law in December 2015, through which we have defined the basic principles of China's anti-terrorism initiatives, improved working systems and mechanisms in this regard, and stepped up anti-terrorism efforts with regard to preventive safety measures, emergency response, international cooperation, and supporting measures. Meanwhile, Amendment IX to the Criminal Law, passed by the Standing Committee, imposed criminal sanctions against five types of terrorism-related activities and introduced harsher punishments for crimes involving terrorism and extremism. The improvements to our counter-terrorism laws will be of great importance for preventing and punishing terrorist activities according to law, for safeguarding national and public security, and for protecting people's lives and property.
2) Legislation pertaining to people's wellbeing was pushed forward.
Putting the people first in legislation and making legislation for them is an important principle that we must uphold in our legislative work under present circumstances. In response to strong public complaints about serious air pollution such as the frequent occurrence of smog, the Standing Committee worked energetically to revise and improve relevant laws while continuing to strengthen oversight. In particular, we made comprehensive revisions to the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law in an effort to make the law significantly more targeted, practicable, and enforceable. Increasing the number of articles from 66 to 129, we made significant modifications and improvements to the law with a view to strengthening the obligations of the government, enterprises, and individual members of society in the prevention and control of air pollution. By upgrading prevention and control standards, tightening total emissions control, and improving the emissions permit system, the revised law enhanced the prevention and control of pollution from coal burning, industry, vehicle and vessel exhaust emissions, wind-borne dust, and agriculture. It also refined systems for coordinating intra-regional prevention and control efforts in key regions and for responding to heavy air pollution.
The people will not be content until they have confidence in the safety of the food they are eating. In a bid to establish the strictest possible oversight and supervision system for food safety, one that covers the whole process from production to consumption, the Standing Committee took prompt steps to revise the Food Safety Law, taking particular aim at prominent food safety problems. With an emphasis on preventing and reducing safety risks, the revised law has improved basic systems pertaining to safety standards and the monitoring and assessment of safety risks. It brings the whole process from food production and distribution to catering under supervision, and tightens legal penalties for the unlawful production and sale of food and for neglect and dereliction of food safety supervision duties. It also prescribes the establishment of a society-wide co-governance system for food safety that comprises the provision of rewards for reporting food safety problems, the release of food safety information, and the introduction of a food safety liability insurance, so that every member of society is encouraged to lawfully ensure that every bite of food is safe.
Opposition to domestic violence is an important indicator of social progress, and an essential requirement for harmonious families and a stable society. In September 2015, at the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, President Xi Jinping stated, "We will strive to eliminate all forms of violence against women, including domestic abuse." The Anti-Domestic Violence Law formulated by the Standing Committee emphasizes that the prevention of domestic violence is the shared responsibility of the state, society, and each family. The law has not only stipulated mechanisms and measures for preventing and dealing with domestic abuse, but has also introduced a system of restraining orders to protect the victims of family violence, thereby providing a stronger legal guarantee for preventing domestic violence against women, minors, and other groups and preserving equal, harmonious, and amiable family relations.
We also made timely changes to the Population and Family Planning Law. In order to put into effect the decision made at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee to comprehensively implement a policy of allowing all couples to have two children, the Standing Committee issued a decision on revising the Population and Family Planning Law, implementing a universal two-child policy as of January 1, 2016. The revised law explicitly stipulates that all couples are allowed to have two children. Those couples who had observed the previous one-child policy and are still willing to have only one child in their lifetime shall be eligible for a certificate of honor, which entitles them to benefits and assistance as stipulated. As a response to the major demographic shift that has taken place in China, the revision of the Population and Family Planning Law represents a major change to China's birth policy, and is a move that will have far-reaching effects on our efforts to promote the balanced development of China's population.
3) The criminal law system was improved.
With a view to implementing the guidelines on deepening judicial reform issued by the CPC Central Committee, and in an effort to adapt to new circumstances and requirements pertaining to criminal justice, the Standing Committee deliberated and passed the 52-article Amendment IX to the Criminal Law, making considerable revisions and improvements to the law. The revisions mainly involve abolishing capital punishment for nine crimes that rarely saw the sentence applied; improving legal regulations for punishing embezzlement and bribery, with a paragraph stipulating the applicability of life imprisonment and inapplicability of commutation or parole for a specific circumstance; imposing heavier punishments on cybercrime; strengthening protection of the rights of the person for women, minors, and the elderly; making it a crime to disrupt courtroom order, organize cheating in examinations, organize or fund illegal assemblies, or fabricate or purposefully disseminate false information; and repealing the crime of having paid sex with a girl under the age of 14,instead treating such an act as a case of rape in which stringency should be shown under the relevant stipulations of the Criminal Law.
4) Legislative work in other areas was coordinated.
The legislative power represents one of the most important functions and powers of the NPC. Following its submission of the draft revisions of the Legislation Law to the Third Session of the 12th NPC for deliberation in 2015, this year the Standing Committee has submitted the draft of the Charity Law to this session for deliberation on the basis of thorough preparations. The drafting of the law was overseen by the Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee. The Standing Committee has deliberated the draft twice, solicited comments from the public on two separate occasions, and made careful revisions accordingly before submitting it to this session for deliberation.
In addition, the Standing Committee formulated the Law on the Exploration and Development of Deep Seafloor Resources; revised the Advertising Law, the Seed Law, the Law on Promoting the Application of Scientific and Technological Advances, the Education Law, and the Higher Education Law; and deliberated draft legislation including a law on the management of international NGOs in China, a cyber-security law, a revision of the Securities Law, an asset evaluation law, amendments to the Law on the Promotion of Privately-Run Schools, a revision of the Wildlife Protection Law, a film industry promotion law, and a law on traditional Chinese medicine.
Attaching high priority to and acting in line with the concept of effective and democratic legislation, the Standing Committee engaged in vigorous efforts to refine legislative mechanisms and systems with a view to making our legislative work more systemic, timely, targeted, and effective.
First, with the approval of the CPC Central Committee, adjustments were made to the five-year legislative plan of the current Standing Committee, principally to include into the plan legislative items pertaining to the coordinated implementation of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy. As a result, the total number of legislative items in category I (draft legislation ready for deliberation by the Standing Committee) and category II (draft legislation soon to be ready for deliberation by the Standing Committee) increased from 68 to 102.
Second, we intensified the research and evaluation of legislative items, and carried out dedicated deliberations on key points and difficulties in the drafts of the National Security Law and the Anti-Terrorism Law as well as in the draft revisions of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law and the Advertising Law.
Third, giving full play to the role of NPC deputies, we improved mechanisms for soliciting their opinions on draft laws and invited them to participate in the debate, research, and deliberation process.
Fourth, in a bid to broaden channels for the systematic participation of citizens in the legislative process, we formulated the Procedures for Releasing Drafts of Laws for Public Comments, according to which the drafts of laws for the first and second deliberations of the Standing Committee should both be promptly made available to the public. After the draft of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law was released, for example, we received more than 40,000 comments and suggestions from all sectors of society. We also put in place a sound system whereby specialists are appointed as legislative advisors, thereby further improving our consultation system for legislative decision making.
Fifth, we actively responded to the concerns of NPC deputies, members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and people from all sectors of society, studying and incorporating where possible the comments and suggestions of all sides into the relevant laws as they were drafted, deliberated, or revised.
Sixth, we established a system of staying connected with local communities on legislative issues, making full use of the role of this system in directly soliciting the legislation-related views of the general public and officials at the community level.