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Lawmaker's calendar offers inside look at NPC process


Updated: 2016-03-13 06:45:13

BEIJING - The annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) is the most high-profile event of China's top legislature, and it is also the culmination of 12 busy months for more than 2,900 NPC deputies.

The national lawmakers, selected from different backgrounds to represent the entire population, traverse the country gathering information that will influence the nation's future at the most important political occasion.
However, it is an unpaid, part-time job for most NPC deputies.

Chen Shu, a 62-year-old lawyer from south China's Guangdong Province, is in her third term as an NPC deputy.

While she is currently in Beijing for the annual session, much of Chen's time outside work has been spent on the road, attending events and having discussions that will inform her arguments and advice at the major event.

"No matter how busy you are in your own job, you can always find time for what you are passionate about," Chen said.
With more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer and serving as the chief editor of a law journal, her time outside of the congress is in high demand.

As Chen's busy calendar of events from last year demonstrates, each role can bring benefits to the other and such information gathering never stops for NPC deputies.

In April 2015, a month after last year's session concluded, Chen traveled to Hong Kong to learn about one of the city's dispute mediation mechanisms. In May, she and other deputies visited prisons in several Guangdong cities to inspect their compliance with the law.

In July, she delivered a speech to provincial lawmakers in Guangdong.

During the blistering summer peak in August, Chen embarked on her most important task of the year as she began a survey to help draft a law on financial leasing.

Financial leasing is an effective means of raising capital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). With no law regulating this field, the development of such services has been limited. The NPC hopes creating a law can open a new source of growth for SMEs, a big focus for China as its economy slows.

Chen continued working on the financial leasing law through September and October.

After meeting with leasing firms and regulators in Beijing, Tianjin and Guangdong, she decided a financial leasing law could wait no more.

She and other lawmakers have submitted the draft motion to enact the Law on Financial Leasing to the ongoing session.
After a busy few months between December and February, in which she gave lectures and visited the Supreme People's Court twice, Chen attended this year's NPC session opening on March 5. She and other deputies have brought a treasure trove of information and proposals gathered from their work throughout the year.

As each deputy is considered among the best in their respective professions, the suggestions they make reflect the most pressing concerns in each area, Chen said.

Chen has made the most use of her legal experience by giving her opinion on dozens of laws enacted or revised by the top legislature during her tenure.

Below the NPC, there are about 2.7 million deputies to the people's congresses which act as local legislative bodies. In Chinese politics, the idea is that these citizens reflect a broader array of opinions than career politicians ever could in the West.

Top legislator Zhang Dejiang said on Wednesday that one of the NPC Standing Committee's major tasks for this year is to work out how to keep NPC deputies in close contact with the people they are supposed to represent.

"The proposals from NPC deputies are like sparks of democracy. Put together, they are a force for the realization of the Chinese dream," Chen said.