Rural regions win equal electoral rights

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-15 07:20
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BEIJING: The amendment to China's Electoral Law, which grants rural residents equal rights in electing deputies to the people's congresses, received approval as the country's top legislature ended its annual session on Sunday.

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The amendment, regarded as part of the country's efforts to narrow the urban-rural gap, requires "both rural and urban areas to adopt the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in elections of people's congress deputies".

It won 2,747 votes from the 2,909 deputies at the closing ceremony of the third session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC).

The last amendment in 1995 stipulated that each rural deputy represented a population four times that of an urban deputy. Critics said this could be interpreted as "farmers only enjoy a quarter of the suffrage of their urban counterparts".

Before the amendment in 1995, the rural difference was eight times that of an urban deputy.

At the closing meeting on Sunday, the central government work report by Premier Wen Jiabao, which set an 8-percent economic growth target for 2010, also won 2,836 votes from the 2,909 NPC deputies.

Similar to last year, work reports delivered by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate received the lowest support among all the bills that were put forward, with 2,289 and 2,341 votes in favor of the respective proposals.

Top legislator Wu Bangguo said in his closing speech that lawmakers at this session offered good suggestions on accelerating the transformation of the country's economic growth pattern, a task that topped the government's agenda this year.

Wu said NPC deputies submitted 506 motions to the session and the presidium has handed them on to NPC special committees for deliberation.

The session also received more than 7,400 proposals from lawmakers.

At the closing meeting, the legislators adopted resolutions on the national development plan, budgets and the work reports of the NPC Standing Committee.

Foreign diplomats who keep a close watch on China also spoke highly of the NPC session that has drawn to a close.

Marija Adanja, Slovenia ambassador to China, said it was "a very good opportunity" to follow the government in action. "Everybody is admiring China's economic growth and its ability to face the international financial crisis," she said, adding that it helps the rest of the world find a way out of the crisis.

Ante Simonic, ambassador of Croatia to China, said China's stability is a new opportunity for the world. "The new world order is emerging, in which China is a driving force. How the government is managing and leading the country is impressive."

China Daily and Xinhua