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Top legislature to explain official dismissals
Updated: 2009-04-24 11:22

BEIJING -- China's top legislature on Friday changed its rules of procedure to ensure the public are told why officials have been dismissed.

Previous procedure only required profiles of appointed officials, so the legislature omitted reasons for dismissing officials, which often baffled the public.

The first such amendment since the rules of procedure were established 22 years ago was aimed at increasing efficiency and accountability of the legislature, said a document on the change from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

The rules of procedure sets out formalities for meetings of the NPC Standing Committee, which considers important state issues and laws.

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The amendment says bills on personnel changes should "include profiles of officials and reasons of appointment or dismissal."

The latest case was the removal of Zhu Zhigang from the post of director of the Budgetary Work Committee of NPC Standing Committee, in October. The legislature failed to explain the decision.

The public did not know the reason until an NPC spokesman revealed at a press conference later that Zhu was "under investigation for suspected violations of discipline and law."

The amendment also imposes stricter controls over speech times and prevents digression by NPC Standing Committee members at legislative meetings.

"NPC Standing Committee members' speeches should not exceed 15 minutes at group meetings and a second speech on the same topic should not last more than 10 minutes," it says.

The speech time can be extended if the meeting's moderator agrees, it says.

Previous procedures only set out speech times for lawmakers at joint group sessions or plenary sessions that mainly hear law drafts or amendments or discuss major issues concerning legislation.

Detailed legislative discussion only takes place at group meetings where each lawmaker can take time to offer opinions.

The amendment was one of many proposed laws being considered for the first time by the NPC Standing Committee during its bimonthly session from April 20 to 24.