The National People's Congress (NPC) is the supreme organ of state power in China. It is composed of NPC deputies who are elected according to law from 35 electoral units from the people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, the People's Liberation Army, the deputy election council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan compatriots' consultation election council. Each congress is elected for a term of five years. A total of 2,987 deputies were elected to the current 11th NPC before the first session was convened.
The NPC meets in session once a year. An interim session of the NPC may be convened at any time if the Standing Committee of the NPC deems it necessary or if one-fifth or more of its deputies so propose.
Functions and Powers of the National People's Congress
To amend the Constitution and oversee its enforcement. Only the NPC has the power to amend the Constitution. Amendments to the Constitution must be proposed by the NPC Standing Committee or by one-fifth or more of the NPC deputies, and they must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote of all deputies. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China was adopted at the First Session of the First NPC in 1954 and comprehensively revised by the NPC in 1982. The current Constitution is the one promulgated and put into effect after this revision. Since then, the NPC has partially amended the Constitution on four occasions, in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004. To defend the dignity of the Constitution and guarantee its enforcement, the NPC also enjoys the power to oversee its enforcement.
To enact and amend basic laws governing criminal offences, civil affairs, state organs and other matters. The NPC has enacted the Criminal Law, the Criminal Procedure Law, the Organic Law of the NPC, the Organic Law of the State Council, the Organic Law of Local People's Congresses and Local People's Governments, the Organic Law of the People's Courts, the Organic Law of the People's Procuratorates, the Law on the Autonomy of Ethnic Minority Region, the Electoral Law, and the Law on Deputies to the NPC and to the Local People's Congresses. The Marriage Law, the Citizenship Law, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region were also enacted by the NPC.
To elect and appoint members to central state organs. The NPC elects the Chairman, Vice Chairmen, Secretary-General and other members of its Standing Committee and the President and the Vice President of the People's Republic of China. It appoints the Premier of the State Council based on the nomination by the President of the People's Republic of China and appoints the Vice premiers, State Councilors, Ministers in charge of ministries or commissions, the Governor of the People's Bank of China, the Auditor-General and the Secretary-General of the State Council based on nominations by the Premier. It elects the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and appoints all other members of the Central Military Commission based on the Chairman's nominations. It also elects the President of the Supreme People's Court and the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. The NPC has the power to remove from office any of the above-mentioned officials.
To determine major state issues. This work includes examining and approving the report on the plan for national economic and social development and on its implementation; examining the report on the central and local budgets and their implementation and approving the report on the central budget and its implementation; approving the establishment of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government; deciding where to establish special administrative regions and what system they should institute; and deciding questions of war and peace. The establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region, Hainan Province and Chongqing Municipality and the building of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River were all decided by the NPC.