The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is a united front of the people and the country's highest political advisory body. It serves as a key mechanism for multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and is a major manifestation of socialist democracy.
The 11th CPPCC National Committee will hold its first annual session from today. It comprises representatives of the CPC and non-CPC parties, individuals without any party affiliation, and representatives of people's organizations, ethnic minorities and social strata.
Compatriots from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan, overseas-returned Chinese and specially invited people, too, are represented in the CPPCC.
Most of the CPPCC members are experienced political figures, social celebrities, and experts and scholars.
The CPPCC's main functions are to hold political consultations, exercise democratic supervision and participate in the discussions and the handling of State affairs. Political consultation covers major principles and policies proposed by the central and local governments and matters of political, economic, cultural and social importance.
Democratic supervision means to exercise, by means of offering suggestion and criticism, supervision over the implementation of the Constitution, other laws, regulations and major policies, and over the work of government agencies and their functionaries.
Discussing and handling State affairs means organizing CPPCC members to take part in the country's political, economic, cultural and social activities in the best possible way.
The 11th CPPCC is different from the one formed in 1946 following the victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and the decision taken by the CPC and the Kuomintang in their negotiations in Chongqing as part of the preparations for establishing a new government.
The first session of the new CPPCC was held in Beijing in September 1949. Authorized to perform the functions of the supreme organ of power, the session adopted a "Common Program" which bore the nature of a temporary constitution, proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China, elected a council of the central people's government, and elected the First CPPCC National Committee.
The CPPCC ceased to act as the supreme organ of power in 1954 when the National People's Congress was convened.
The CPPCC has a national committee and local committees. The CPPCC committees have a five-year term, and hold sessions every year.
(China Daily 03/03/2008 page2)