China’s ‘Two Sessions’ From 4 March: Here’s What to Watch Out For

It also falls in the 100th year of the National People Congress, ahead of celebrations in July.

Updated
World
3 min read
It also falls in the 100th year of the National People Congress, ahead of celebrations in July.
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China’s biggest annual parliamentary meet, known as “Two Sessions” or “Lianghui” converges on Thursday, 4 March in its capital city of Beijing, at the Great Hall of the People and will wrap up by 11 March, amid stringent COVID-19 restrictions.

It also falls in the 100th year of the National People Congress, ahead of celebrations in July.

It is important to note as it will mark the start of the next five-year plan and President Xi Jinping’s “2035 vision”, as he heads towards his unprecedented third term, amongst revealing other prominent policy changes according to South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The two meetings of CPPCC and NPC take place simultaneously and at the same location, but are separate events.

The gathering is of over 5,000 members of China’s political elite including members of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and it’s advisory body that is supposed to represent civil society, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

WHAT IS THIS?

This annual political conference is a ceremonial legislature with a rubber stamp Parliament that ratifies decisions made by other state bodies, noted Bloomberg.

The meeting includes over 3,000 NPC members, President Xi Jinping and six fellow members of the Politburo Standing Committee, leaders, military commanders and influential persons, added the report. Local journalists and foreign envoys are in attendance, but foreign correspondents will hold interviews via video conferencing.

It is a political theatrical showcase of any policy shift within China’s one party system, where delegates seem to not have much say in passing the laws, reported The Guardian.

The conference has been used to announce major policy changes in the past, like the controversial national security legislation on Hong Kong, used to muzzle dissent.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR?

President Xi will unveil the 2035 vision blueprint at the “two sessions”, which will map China’s development for the next 15 years. Measures around Hong Kong will also be announced, including efforts to “ensure patriots in governance”, reported SCMP.

China is expected to be careful around its international image, which has been affected due to coronavirus and accusations of mishandling the pandemic, the LAC stand-off with India, and human right violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, added the report.

China is to present its 14th five-year-plan, which will showcase the country’s medium term goals for the economy. The GDP growth target report was skipped last year, and may be skipped this year as well due to coronavirus impacting the economy, noted Reuters.

China may push for a self-reliant economy in the face of growing competition with the US. Beijing is hoping for a better relationship with US President Joe Biden after bilateral relationships turned sour during his predecessor, Trump’s term.

President Biden on 10 February, spoke with China President Xi Jinping and voiced his “fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices” and “human rights abuses in Xinjiang” among other things, a statement from the White House said.

President Biden also spoke about the crackdown in Hong Kong as well as China’s “increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan,” the statement further said.

President Xi had earlier talked about China achieving peak carbon emissions by 2030 and seeking carbon neutrality by 2060, How China aims to achieve these is expected to be covered in the upcoming 14th NPC session as well, according to TIME.

(With inputs from SCMP, TIME, The Guardian, Reuters and Bloomberg)

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