Legislators will take a closer look at social issues this year and strengthen
supervision over governments to build a harmonious society.
"While continuing to improve economic legislation, we must also enact laws
related to social programs to provide a solid legal foundation for a harmonious
society," Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress (NPC), said yesterday while delivering a work report to the
NPC full session.
This is the first time in a decade that the NPC, the country's top
legislature, made clear that social affairs will be placed on an equal footing
with economic matters in legislative priorities.
The legislative agenda for 2007 released yesterday also reflects the change.
About half of the 20 draft laws or amendments to be discussed this year touch
on social problems, including labor contracts, social welfare, employment, food
safety, the environment and public response to emergencies.
In contrast, only 4-5 of the 18 draft laws discussed last year fell in this
The agenda also lists three economic draft laws to be, or being, discussed
this year, dealing with property rights, taxation, and urban and rural
development, compared with last year's eight draft laws on economic affairs.
NPC deputies said they had noticed the shift of focus in legislation, and
"The change shows that our government and legislature are more
people-oriented," said Tong Haibao, a deputy from East China's Anhui Province.
He said China's rapid economic growth in the past few years had resulted in
many social problems and disputes, and more laws would definitely help solve
Wu Haiying, a deputy from Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region,
viewed the change as a victory for NPC deputies. She said in the past four
years, many deputies had raised proposals or suggestions relating to social
problems that directly affect the public.
"We're glad to see that our efforts have paid off," she said.
Online surveys by Sina.com, one of the country's most popular websites, and
Xinhua.net, also show that social issues such as healthcare, education, food
safety and housing are among the top issues people want the NPC to address.
In an attempt to improve the work of the NPC Standing Committee, Wu Bangguo
said it would increase supervision over governments this year.
"We must properly handle the relationship between congresses and
governments," he said, adding that overseeing governments is one of the major
powers accorded to the NPC by the Constitution.
(China Daily 03/12/2007 page1)