Electing Deputies to China’s 13th National People’s Congress


Delegates listen to speeches during the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2016. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER

How are NPC deputies elected?
According to China’s Constitution, NPC deputies are members of the highest organ of state power in China. They are elected in accordance with law. Every five years, China elects a new group of NPC deputies.

1. Who can elect and be elected the deputies?

All citizens of the People’s Republic of China over age 18 have the right to vote and run for office. Only those stripped of their political rights are barred from engaging in this process. All political parties or registered organizations can jointly or separately recommend candidate deputies. Any group of 10 people, or more, can also recommend candidate deputies. Every five years, China elects a new group of deputies. A total of 2,980 deputies have been elected to attend the First Session of China’s 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) in 2018. 

2. How are the deputies elected?

The People’s Congress system in China has several levels: to county- and township-level; provincial- and municipal level; and the national level. Eligible voters elect county and township-level congresses only. The other levels are elected by deputies at the level immediately below theirs.

The election committee publishes a list of candidate deputies 20 days before an election. Sometimes there are discussions or preliminary elections. After that, officials release a final list of the candidates five days before the election.

Then it’s time to vote. Voters may cast ballots for or against candidates, or abstain from voting. They also have the option of voting for people who are not on the official ballot.

Successful candidates must receive more than half the votes. If the number of successful candidates exceeds the number of vacancies, those with more votes are elected.

3. Who are the final 2980 National People’s Congress deputies?

China’s Election Law caps the number of NPC deputies at 3,000. The NPC Standing Committee decides how many deputies are assigned to each province, to autonomous and special regions and to the People’s Liberation Army. The National People’s Congress is trying to conclude all classes, ethnic groups and different industries. Distribution is mainly by the population size, but other factors are also taken into consideration.

For example, Beijing has 55 national congress deputies this year. Minority ethnic groups have five seats. There are 13 female deputies.

NPC deputies are subject to supervision by so-called electoral units, which have the right to recall any deputies they elect. An NPC deputy may also submit his or her resignation to their standing committee.

If, for any reason, a deputy must resign during his or her tenure, a by-election for a replacement will be held by the same electoral unit.