What Does the Word "NPC Deputy" Entail?
   2014-03-13 15:23:37    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Liu Yuanhui

About three-thousand lawmakers attended this year's annual session of the National People's Congress, putting more than 460 motions to the session. CRI's Liu Kun visited one of them from Shanghai to take a closer look at how their suggestions are affecting the lives of Chinese people.

Fifty-five-year-old Shen Zhigang is a professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University and one of the lawmakers at this year's session of the 12th National People's Congress, or NPC, China's top legislature.

At 9 o'clock in the morning in Jingxi Hotel where deputies from Shanghai stay, Shen is discussing the details of the work report from China's Supreme People's Court with his fellow deputies to examine whether the Court has adequately performed its duties in the past year.

Apart from scrutinizing the work of the central government, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, another important responsibility of China's lawmakers is to deliberate bills and proposals to the presidium of the Congress in an effort to improve the country's legal system.

A bill must get the signatures of at least 30 NPC deputies before the NPC presidium accepts it. But deputies can always hand in their proposals independently.

In December 2013, the standing committee of the NPC formally allowed couples to have a second child if one parent is a single child, representing the first major easing of the three-decades-old family planning policy.

Shen Zhigang is one of the lawmakers that proposed the change to the NPC.

"I was greatly relieved when the new policy came out. I've paid close attention to the issue for a long time. Starting from 2008, I've noticed it in my research and investigations. After the policy was released, at least ten people told me in person that I had done something really good for the people."

Shen handed over the suggestion at last year's NPC session. Then he received a phone call from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, consulting his opinions on the issue.

Eight months after last year's session, Shen's proposal became reality.

Shen says, as a national deputy, he wants to push forward the progress of society as much as he can.

"I always submit bills or proposals with careful deliberation. Before I put forward any suggestions, I've conducted a lot of research, investigations or interviews. I hope that the issues I address are the concerns of the public and in the interests of the country's development and the people's urgent need."

This year, Shen is advocating a regulation on the employment of migrant workers in the hope of solving their unpaid wages.

To successively perform a deputy's duty, Shen says conducting research and investigation is vital before making a bill or proposal.

"Bills and proposals are not raised just between the two weeks' time at every year's session. Everything has been done beforehand; deputies research certain topics every year; that research usually lasts one to two month. Being a deputy means knowing how to communicate what you observe and collect from ordinary people in daily life to the top legislature."

Shen says he also spends a lot of time on inspecting the work of government bodies every year.

In 1954, China held the first session of the 1st National People's Congress, at which China's Constitution was created. In the 60 years that followed, China's lawmakers have been making continuing efforts to better the country's laws and regulations.

Starting from the year 2008, Shen Zhigang served as a deputy to both the 11th and 12th NPC. Attending the session for the seventh time this year, Shen says the feeling has changed.

"The first time I attended the session, I was perplexed and terrified. I didn't know what to do because, as a member of the country's top power, I knew anything I said might affect other people. But back then, I didn't feel any pressure. This year, I feel the pressure is growing because I'm more and more aware that, to raise a proposal, you need to put in as much effort as possible. And with six years of experience, shouldn't I do some good?"

Shen's sense of responsibility and discretion is shared by many other deputies, such as Wang Liang, a senior technician from northeastern China's Liaoning province.

"I often ask myself where my time has gone. I usually go on a lot of duty trips every year, so I will visit many companies and workers. At work, I am able to learn about their interests and concerns."

Cui Genliang, an entrepreneur from eastern China's Jiangsu province says this:

"As a private company owner, I want to do something for the development of private enterprises and for the Chinese economy."

And Sun Xianzhong, an expert in law from Shanghai.

"Anything related to the legal system that we enact will affect the people. So we should always ask ourselves: what do the people think about the law?"

The enforcement of laws and regulations is also one thing Shen Zhigang constantly mentions. Shen says the crucial step is to make sure that laws and regulations are effective and that their implementation is supervised by lawmakers and, most importantly, the people.

For CRI, this is Liu Kun.


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