Chinese Parliamentary Sessions 2013
March 2013 sees the annual meeting of the two legislative and consultative bodies of China, where major policies are decided and key government officials appointed. The National People's Congress (NPC) is held in the Great Hall of the People in China's capital, Beijing, and with 2,987 members, is the largest parliament in the world. It gathers alongside the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) whose members represent various groups of society.
83 Chinese billionaires members of NPC and CPPCC: Hurun
Legislature and advisory body include 83 tycoons as members, making them the world's richest political clubs, research firm says
Eighty-three members of the National People's Congress or the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference are US dollar billionaires, a private research consultancy says, making the annual NPC and CPPCC sessions under way in Beijing the biggest gathering of billionaires anywhere in the world.
Thirty-one are NPC deputies with the rest CPPCC delegates, including 10 from Hong Kong, according to the new Hurun Global Rich List 2013, which includes a ranking of the 1,453 richest US dollar billionaires in the world.
The report shows how money, power and politics are closely linked in China, and how its rubber-stamp legislature and its advisory body are the world's wealthiest political clubs.
Last year's rich list sparked debate over the disproportionate representation of China's wealthy in top government advisory positions.
The new Communist Party leadership, installed in November, has spoken of the urgent need for reforms to narrow an income gap that is now one of world's widest and at levels that analysts say could spark social unrest, despite three decades of blistering economic growth that have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of rural poverty. Last year's list said the wealthiest United States congressman, California Republican Darrell Issa, with a net worth of US$700 million, would be only the 40th richest member of the NPC.
In this year's list, Michael Bloomberg, in his third term as mayor of New York, is the only billionaire US politician. Four other US billionaires with so-called "political fortunes" were unsuccessful candidates for congress or governorships.
The latest report says Wahaha's Zong Qinghou , 68, is the richest NPC deputy, with a personal fortune of US$13 billion. He is commencing his third five-year term.
Tencent's Pony Ma Huateng comes in second with US$7.5 billion. Ma, 42, is the second youngest billionaire NPC deputy after 40-year-old Fang Wei, a newcomer this year.
The average age of the 31 billionaire NPC deputies is 54.
Geographically, Jiangsu leads the way, with six political billionaires based there.
The average age of the billionaire CPPCC delegates is 50. They include the founders of some of China's best-known brands, including Robin Li Yanhong of Baidu, Yang Yuanqing of Lenovo and Cao Dewang of Fuyao Glass.