NPC deputies approve 21 changes to Chinese Constitution

China 24

CHINA-POLITICS A Chinese flag flies above the national emblem on the Great Hall of the People after a plenary session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 11, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER)

The most ambitious revision of the Chinese Constitution in decades was approved with near-unanimous support at the National People’s Congress.

The top law-making body approved three key measures, including:

  • Enshrining state and party leader Xi Jinping’s political philosophies in the Constitution
  • Lifting term limits on the president and vice president
  • And empowering a new anti-corruption agency

CGTN’s Han Peng has more.

Nearly 3,000 lawmakers cast secret ballots on the Constitutional amendments. The measures included changes such as adding the term “ecological civilization,” and provisions to help ensure a more stable economic environment.

“The newly amended Constitution provides the necessary conditions for the long-term stability of our country,” according to Chen Yan, NPC deputy and mayor of Guiyang.

At a press briefing following the vote, a number of questions focused on the removal of the two term limit for the Presidency.

Currently, China does not impose term limits on the CPC General Secretary or Military Commission Chairman, which the president also serves as.

“It’s a decision that comes after decades of exploration by the ruling Communist Party,” Shen Chunyao, director of the Legal Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said. “If you look at the past two decades, having the three posts served by one person is not only effective, but also crucial, for the country’s long-term stability, and an orderly power transition.”

The Communist Party of China proposed the amendment last month. Lawmakers from across the country deliberated for nearly a week before voting on Sunday.

In a panel discussion, Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang said China doesn’t have to keep comparing itself to the Western way of governance.

“China has been exploring its own path of development, which has proved to be successful,” the official said. “The country rose from a poorly industrialized country to the world’s second largest economy in just a few decades, largely because of the unique advantages of our political system. We are confident that the new Constitution will help deliver an even better future.”

Among the 21 changes in the Constitution, 11 are focused on one issue: building a supervisory body.

Since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013, China has launched a nationwide anti-corruption campaign, and the spokesperson for the amendments’ drafting team says establishing a supervisory commission is a step closer to making the anti-corruption fight more institutionalized.

“The point of the reform is to integrate all resources in the fight against corruption,” according to Zheng Shuna, vice director of the Legal Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee. “It will coordinate different government departments to prevent and punish those who are corrupt.”

With the approval of the constitutional amendment, legislators will cast their vote on China’s supervision law later this month.

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