he constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates: All power in the People’s Republic of China belongs to the people. The NPC and the local people’s congresses at all levels are the organs through which the people exercise state power.
The system of people’s congresses is the fundamental political system of China. The main features of the system are as follows.
1. People’s congresses at all levels are established through democratic elections and are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision.
2. The NPC and its Standing Committee exercise state power and decide questions collectively. They carry out the responsibilities and powers the Constitution stipulates for them in strict accordance with the principle of democratic centralism.
3. State administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs are created by the NPC, are responsible to it, report to it on their work and are subject to its supervision.
4. Functions of central and local state institutions are divided in accordance with the principle of giving full expression to local initiative and enthusiasm under the unified leadership of the central authorities. The NPC and local people’s congresses at all levels should examine and approve national and local policies respectively in accordance with their responsibilities and powers prescribed by law. The relationship between the NPC and local people’s congresses is not one in which the former exercises leadership over the latter but one in which the former undertakes legal supervision over, provides electoral guidance for and maintains work contacts with the latter.
5. China is a unified multi-ethnic state country, and ethnic minorities live in compactly inhabited areas enjoy ethnic regional autonomy. Self-governments in autonomous areas on the one hand exercise powers given to them as ordinary local state organs under the leadership of the central authorities and government organs at higher levels and on the other hand enjoy autonomy as given by the Constitution and the law.
The NPC establishes such special committees as the Ethnic Affairs Committee, Law Committee, Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee, Environment and Resources Protection Committee, and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee. A special committee is composed of a chairman, vice chairmen and members. They are nominated by the NPC Presidium from among NPC deputies and approved at a session of the NPC.
An Ethnic Affairs Committee was established at the first NPC in 1954. Afterward, except for the Fourth NPC during the Cultural Revolution, all other NPCs established an Ethnic Affairs Committee. At present, the Ethnic Affairs Committee is a permanent organ of the NPC and is under the leadership of the NPC Standing Committee when the NPC is not in session. According to the Constitution and the Organic Law of the NPC, the members of the Ethnic Affairs Committee must be deputies of the NPC. The Ethnic Affairs Committee of the Ninth NPC is composed of 26 members from 20 ethnic groups, 13 of whom are on the NPC Standing Committee.
The functions of the NPC Ethnic Affairs Committee are:
1. to examine bills concerning ethnic issues given to it by the NPC Presidium and the NPC Standing Committee and provisions involving ethnic issues in draft laws examined by the NPC and its Standing Committee and to make suggestions concerning them;
2. to submit to the NPC and its Standing Committee bills, inquiries and draft lawsconcerning ethnic issues that are within their jurisdiction;
3. to conduct research on ethnic issues that are within the jurisdiction of the NPC and its standing Committee and on issues concerning strengthening ethnic unity and to make suggestions based thereon;
4. to examine the regulations for their autonomous regions and other special regulations submitted by autonomous regions to the NPC and report on them to the NPC Standing Committee.
The Ethnic Affairs Committee has three administrative organs: the Administrative Office, Legal Affairs Department and Research Department.At present, the Chairman of the Ethnic Affairs Committee is Doje Cering (Tibetan), and itsVice Chairmen are Wu Lianyuan (Hui), Chen Shineng, Wei Fulin (Manchu), Yungreng (Mongolian), Wei Jianeng (Zhuang), Mamtimin Abdurehim (Uygur) and Wang Liping (Manchu).
(Resource: “China’s Ethnic Groups” , No. 4 2003.12, Article By Yang Ruixue)