Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), delivers a report on the work of the NPC Standing Committee during the second plenary meeting of the fourth session of the 12th NPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 9, 2016. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, has announced its major tasks for 2016, a crucial year in the journey toward a moderately prosperous society by 2020.
Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, made the announcement at the NPC Wednesday afternoon session, attended by President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.
Addressing nearly 3,000 NPC deputies, Zhang said the committee will make secure a good beginning to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and the decisive push to a moderately prosperous society.
Zhang said leadership by the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and its greatest strength.
The year 2016 marks the beginning of the 13th five-year plan, the decisive stage in doubling 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020.
Reviewing the work of the past year, Zhang said, "We have maintained the correct political direction and ensured that the Party line, principles, policies, decisions, and plans have been fully and effectively implemented in the work of the state. We have ensured that the Party can exercise leadership over the state and society through the organs of political power."
In 2015, the NPC Standing Committee oversaw enforcement of the Constitution, made new strides in key areas of legislation, supported and promoted reform and made progress toward more effective supervision, said Zhang.
"Our legislative initiatives led to important achievements that have supported and promoted reform and development and ensured stability, " said Zhang.
According to the work report, major tasks for the NPC Standing Committee in 2016 will include strengthening and improving legislative work in new circumstances; accelerating the formation of a complete framework of laws and regulations; and exercising legitimate and effective oversight.
The committee's legislative agenda for 2016 includes formulation of the general provisions of the civil law, along with new laws on environmental protection tax, promoting the film industry and international criminal judicial assistance.
The NPC Standing Committee will ask the State Council, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate to strengthen their ties with NPC deputies and open up more channels for deputies to learn about state affairs and government work.
Under the leadership of the party, the people's congress will support innovation and reform through its legislative work, and exercise direct and specific oversight over the government, both of which are instrumental to maintaining medium-high economic growth, said Zhang Zhao'an, an NPC deputy and economist with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
Liang Ying, with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said the work report embodied democracy with Chinese characteristics, of which the Party's leadership over the people's congress is a part.
Liang said the revision of the Legislation Law last year, which expands legislative power from 49 cities in China to 288 and empowers their legislatures to make by-laws, testifies to the people being their own masters.
The draft of the Charity Law, the first to regulate such organizations, was submitted to the legislature on Wednesday. The law would recruit help from the public to realize the 2020 poverty alleviation target, another pro-growth measure.
Liang said the system of people's congress ensures that reform and development advances under a legal framework. Meanwhile, the development and optimization of the system itself is an integral part of modernization.
Top legislator Zhang concluded his report by calling on fellow lawmakers to rally even closer around the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping.