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Congress starts busy schedule Friday
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-04 23:58

The Chinese legislature will beef up law-making and supervision to fight corruption and safeguard people's interests, spokesman Jiang Enzhu said Thursday before the opening of the Second Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing Friday.

In addition to slamming Taiwan's "referendum" and warning against foreign interference in Hong Kong, Jiang also said amending the Constitution, which is one of the top priorities for the 10-day NPC session, caters to the country's need to build a "well-off" society.

Jiang, himself a deputy secretary general of the NPC session, said the nation's top legislature will continue to step up its law-making to prevent and eliminate corruption.

Anti-corruption campaigns have continually intensified as China has undergone structural readjustment and social change, with law-breakers being severely penalized, Jiang said.

Although an era of change is prone to frequent corruption, the mainstream of the Communist Party and government leadership is "good." Only a very small number of them have been punished for corruption, he said.

"The NPC has stressed checking the sources of corruption through legislation," Jiang said.

The top legislative body has revised the country's Criminal Law to provide a legal guarantee for the fight against corruption, and has enacted laws such as the Administrative Review Law, the Government Procurement Law and the Administrative Licensing Law to regulate government behaviour, he said.

The country's legislature plans to improve and make more laws to eradicate corruption, Jiang said.

They include a law on administrative fee collection and other statutes to improve administrative efficiency and regulate governance behaviour, he said.

The people's congresses can fulfill their rights of supervision over governments, courts and procuratorates by means of making inquiries and comments and by carrying out law enforcement inspections, Jiang said.

This year, the NPC Standing Committee will inspect how laws on animal epidemic prevention, compulsory education, trade unions and auditing are being implemented, he revealed.

"We'll also strengthen our efforts to examine government reports and step up supervision over budget reports to help government exert administrative power in accordance to law," Jiang said.

Congress to finalize constitutional changes

With regard to constitutional amendments to be finalized at the NPC session, Jiang said the changes serve to make the current Constitution even better, and more responsive to the country's need to build a well-off society in an all-around way while accelerating the modernization drive.

The amendments were advanced by the Communist Party of China Central Committee in October and have since become hot topics across the country.

The draft amendments to the Constitution cover such areas as the protection of private property, human rights and the growth of the private economy, as well as the "Three Represents" theory.

When asked if Taiwan's election will be discussed during the congress session, the spokesman said: "We don't care about the election itself." "What we care about is after the election, no matter which party, which person gains power, we hope they will accept the 'one China' principle, and based on this principle, hold dialogues and negotiations, open the 'three links' (direct trade, transport and mail), and promote the peaceful reunification of the motherland."

Jiang said the so-called "defensive referendum" pushed forward by the Taiwan authorities is a "very immoral" campaigning tactic of "president" Chen Shui-bian.

"In seeking his personal 're-election,' Chen has put the tangible interests of the Taiwan people at stake. This is indeed very immoral," he said.

Chen's act has stirred up the indignation and condemnation of the 1.3 billion Chinese people including the Taiwan compatriots, Jiang said.

"We understand and respect the Taiwan compatriots' desire for developing democracy, but we firmly oppose the Taiwan authorities' pursuit of 'Taiwan Independence' and any separatist activities under the cloak of democracy," he said.

"As long as the slightest hope remains, we will spare no efforts to seek a peaceful reunification."

When asked to comment on plans of some Hong Kong Legislative Council members to give evidence to a US Senate hearing on the issue of democracy in Hong Kong, Jiang said China has enough wisdom to resolve the Hong Kong question according to law and does not need external forces making unreasonable remarks.

Jiang said: "For those who have already joined the leadership of Hong Kong, I remember that in the oath of their inauguration, they vowed to support the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of People's Republic of China, and vowed to be loyal in their service to the HKSAR."

"I think they should honestly perform their duties just as when they were sworn in."

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