Highlights From China’s Biggest Parliamentary Meet ‘Two Sessions’
This meeting was of particular importance because it also falls in the 100th year of the National People Congress.
China’s biggest annual parliamentary meet, known as “Two Sessions” or “Lianghui”, concluded its week-long event on Thursday, 11 March in its capital city of Beijing, at the Great Hall of the People amid stringent COVID-19 restrictions.
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).
This converge was of particular importance because it also falls in the 100th year of the National People Congress, ahead of celebrations in July. Here are some key highlights of the conference:
On China’s Economy
In 2020, China grew at a slowed down pace of 2.3 percent, its lowest in 40 years due to coronavirus, but was still the only major economy to grow last year, reported Deutsche Welle (DW).
The CCP’s five-year blueprint asked for reduced dependence on US and Europe for innovation, and more domestic development of key technologies, and boosting of domestic consumption and high quality growth to increase self-reliance, added the report. This blueprint was endorsed by The Congress.
China has set a lower economic growth GDP target than usual, at 6%, to emphaisise sustainable economic growth, noted Chinese Premier Li Keqiang according to The Star. He stated that the nation aimed to create 11 million new urban jobs in 2021 as a top priority, an increase from 9 million of last year.
The report added that the Chinese government’s budget deficit-to-GDP target is 3.2 percent, and there will be no additional COVID-19 bonds issued in 2021. Last year, China sold 1 trillion yuan to finance COVID research and treatment.
On Hong Kong
The NPC endorsed a new CCP measure which will allow pro-Beijing committee members the power to appoint lawmakers in Hong Kong, and the sessions reiterated that loopholes must be closed in the Hong Kong electoral system to avoid ‘foreign interference’, adding that the "one country, two systems” policy will be followed.
“We will resolutely guard against and deter external forces’ interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macau. We will support both regions as they grow their economies and improve people‘s lives, so as to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau.”Li, as quoted by The Star
A vetting committee is to be appointed to check the Hong Kong officials for their “patriotism”, which can lead to the removal of any opposition from the region, noted DW.
The conference in 2020 had announced the controversial national security legislation on Hong Kong used to muzzle dissent by any pro-democracy movement groups.
Beijing has criminalised acts it considers as sedition, subversion or collusion, under which so far 47 former Hong Kong legislators and pro-democracy figures have been arrested, added the report.
The World Health Organisation had sent a team to Wuhan, China to determine the origins of COVID. China has been accused of not being transparent enough about the earliest cases, which Li contested by saying that the nation has been transparent and cooperative, and has acted in a “fact-based manner”.
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