The Functions and Powers of the NPC
The NPC exercises the following functions and powers:
(1) to amend the Constitution:
The amendment of the Constitution shall be proposed by the Standing Committee of the NPC or more than one-fifth of the deputies to the NPC and can only be adopted by a majority of no less than two-thirds of the deputies to the NPC.Four Constitutions have been formulated successively in 1954, 1975, 1978 and 1982 by the NPC.Revisions and amendments to some articles of the Constitution were made and adopted by the NPC in 1988, 1993 and 1999.
(2) to supervise the enforcement of the Constitution: This is clearly identified in the Constitution of 1982.
(3) to enact and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, the state organs and other matters: The Constitution of 1954 stipulates that the NPC is the highest legislative body in the PRC, and the Constitution of 1982 makes further stipulation on this point.
(4) to elect state leaders and decide on the choice of state leaders, including to elect the President and the Vice President of the PRC, members of the Standing Committee of the NPC, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the President of the Supreme of the People's Court and the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate; to decide on the choice of the Premier of the State Council upon nomination by the President of the PRC, and on the choice of the Vice Premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of ministries or commissions, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-general of the State Council upon nomination by the Premier; and, on the choice of all other members of the Central Military Commission upon nomination by the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. The NPC has the power to remove the above mentioned functionaries.
(5) to examine and approve major state issues such as the plan for national economic and social development and the report on its implementation and the state budget and the report on its implementation; to approve the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government; to decide on the establishment of special administrative regions and the systems to be instituted there; and to decide on questions of war and peace, etc.
(6) to supervise the work of its Standing Committee, the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The Working Procedures of the NPC
The NPC exercises its functions and powers by convening meetings. The National People's Congress meets in session once a year and is convened by its Standing Committee. A session of the NPC may be convened at any time the Standing Committee deems it necessary or when more than one-fifth of the deputies to the National People's Congress so propose. When the National People's Congress meets, it elects a Presidium to conduct its session. The NPC usually meets in session openly, but a session may be secretly convened if it is deemed necessary and approved by the Presidium.
The Standing Committee of the NPC
The Standing Committee of the NPC is the permanent organ of the NPC. When the NPC is not in session, the Standing Committee performs the powers of the highest organ of state power. It is responsible to and reports to the NPC. The 9th NPC established nine special committees, namely the ethnic groups committee, the law committee, the finance and economic committee, the education, science, culture and health committee, the foreign affairs committee, the overseas Chinese committee, the civil and judicial affairs committee, the environment and resources protection committee and the agriculture and rural areas committee. When the NPC is not in session, its special committees carry on work under the direction of the Standing Committee of the NPC.
The Standing Committee of NPC exercises the following functions and powers:
to interpret the Constitution and supervise its enforcement; to enact and amend laws, with the exception of those which should be enacted by the NPC; to partially supplement and amend, when the NPC is not in session, laws enacted by the NPC provided that the basic principles of these laws are not contravened; and to supervise the work of the State Council, the Central Military Commission, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate; etc.
The current chairman of the NPC is Wu Bangguo.