BEIJING -- Deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) are members of the highest organ of state power in China and are elected in accordance with law.
All citizens of the People's Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election irrespective of nationality, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status, or length of residence, except persons deprived of political rights according to law.
According to the Electoral Law, deputies to county- and township-level people's congresses are directly elected by voters, while deputies to people's congresses above the county-level are elected by deputies to people's congresses at the next lower level; deputies to the NPC are elected by people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government. The armed forces conduct separate elections.
Deputies to the NPC are elected by secret ballot, and the number of candidates is greater than the number of deputies to be elected by between one fifth and a half. All parties and people's organizations may jointly or separately recommend candidates for NPC deputies, and a group of more than ten deputies to a provincial-level people's congress may recommend a candidate. People's congresses above the county level, in electing deputies to people's congresses at the next higher level, may elect people other than their own deputies.
The number of deputies to the NPC is limited within 3,000, and the distribution of the NPC deputies is decided by the NPC Standing Committee. The number of NPC deputies in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and the electoral procedures there are subject to regulations made separately by the NPC Standing Committee.
A namelist of candidates for deputies to a people's congress is made public 20 days before the election, and officially announced five days before the election. Electors may vote for or against or abstain from voting, or vote for people other than the candidates. Candidates who stand for election as deputies to a people's congress can be deemed elected if they receive more than half of the votes. If the number of candidates who receive more than half of the votes cast exceeds that of deputies to be elected, only those with greater numbers of votes are deemed elected.
Results of the election are declared valid or invalid by the presidium. Expenses for the election are covered by the State, and the election is presided by the NPC Standing Committee.
The NPC deputies are subject to supervision by their electoral units, which also have the right to recall any deputies they have elected. An NPC deputy may submit his or her resignation letter to the standing committee of the people's congress which elected him or her.
According to the law, a by-election is held by the same electoral unit to choose a new deputy for the position of a deputy who falls vacant for various reasons during his or her tenure.