National People's Congress

Deputies give lowest marks in six years to budget and court

The worst endorsements in six years to various sectors is a sign of mild progress, analysts say

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 5:28am

Thousands of National People's Congress deputies gave the lowest endorsement in the past six years to government, budget and court reports yesterday - a small sign of progress in the top legislature, analysts say.

Nearly three thousand legislators cast their votes on the government work report, report of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the budget report, the Supreme People's Court's work report and the Supreme People's Procuratorate's work report, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on the closing day of the annual NPC session yesterday.

Delegates have three options: approve, disapprove or abstain

A total of 2,071 negative votes were recorded for the six reports, a rise of almost 30 per cent over 1,612 disapprovals recorded last year and 1,611 in 2008.

All reports bar the one for the procuratorate, or public prosecutor, received the strongest opposition in at least six years. Broken down, the government report received more than 100 negative votes, the NDRC 200, the budget 500 and the court 600.

Zhu Ji , legislator and general manager of CNNC Lanzhou Uranium Enrichment Co, said delegates disapproved of the lack of progress in implementing rule of law. "We all expect the highest court and public prosecutor to do more in pushing ahead with ruling the country in accordance with the law."

Others were disappointed with budget report. "The strong showing of votes against the budget could be seen as a call for a review on how tax revenue is allocated between the central and regional governments," said Song Furu , a legislator from Hebei province,

"Quite a few regional delegates said the central government has taken the lion's share of tax income while regional governments had to settle for the rest. Instead of leaving the majority share to the central government, many regional governments hope that more tax income will be reserved for their use in future," said Song.

Hong Kong-based political commentator Dr James Sung Lap-kung said the NPC deputies' low endorsement is a step forward, given party members account for most of the legislature.

"The unexpectedly high number of delegates who voted down the court report signifies that the public, especially millions of internet users, are increasingly disappointed with the court under the leadership of Wang Shengjun ," Sung said. Wang has been criticised for being the top judge despite having almost no legal education.

Analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the rising number of opposing votes reflected discontent among ordinary people.

Additional reporting by Jane Cai, Keith Zhai and Laura Zhou