Li Keqiang

Chinese parliamentary sessions 2014

Premier’s plan for government policy wins approval as NPC draws to a close

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 12:28pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 4:14pm

Fewer lawmakers voiced dissent at this year's legislative meeting by voting against the government and judiciary work reports.

Most of the National People's Congress - dominated by the Communist Party and described by critics as a rubber stamp parliament - usually vote overwhelmingly in favour of Beijing's policies. But analysts said the administration was still enjoying its "honeymoon period".

The work report by Premier Li Keqiang at the start of the assembly outlining overall government policy was backed by 2,887 deputies, with 15 objecting and five abstaining.

Watch: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang  says debt defaults 'hardly avoidable'

This was the leadership's best reception since 2004, when Wen Jiabao delivered his report as premier and received just seven votes in opposition.

Bai Liqun, a Jiangsu provincial deputy, said the strong support showed lawmakers were largely pleased with the government's progress.

"This is a very clear signal that China's development and reforms will follow the path of the rule of law," he said.

The reports outline the government and judiciary's performance and priorities in the months ahead. They are usually voted on by the legislature on the final day of the annual parliamentary session.

In past years, many deputies have expressed dissatisfaction over judicial corruption by voting against reports delivered by the heads of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

The two organisations fared better this year, but still ranked low among the six reports that were issued. Some 378 deputies voted against the court's report, while 95 abstained, compared to 605 votes against and 120 abstentions last year.

The prosecutor's report received 390 votes against and 108 abstentions, compared to last year's 485 objections and 121 abstentions.

Bai said he was satisfied with the performance of the judiciary and the results showed that deputies had higher expectations that the legal system exhibit political independence, fairness and determination in cracking down on internal corruption.

Li Chaoxian, a deputy from Shaanxi province said some deputies might have voted against the two reports because of controversy over the sentences given in certain criminal cases, but did not give details.

Zhang Dawei, a Henan deputy, said almost 400 people had abstained or voted against the finance report as they felt the state should invest more to improve people's livelihoods and better protect the environment.

Some political analysts cautioned against misreading the wide support lawmakers gave the leadership. Liu Junning , a Beijing-based political analyst, said the administration was in its early phase, and lawmakers would not judge it too harshly. But over time, expectations would change.

Additional reporting by Mandy Zuo, Wu Nan, Minnie Chan



Results of the graft investigation into Gu Junshan, the PLA's former deputy logistics chief, would be made public soon, authorities said yesterday. "Gu Junshan's case will be announced soon, very soon," said General Sun Sijing , who heads anti-corruption efforts within the People's Liberation Army. Sun's comments, which came on the sidelines of the of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, were the first official acknowledgment that Gu was the subject of a corruption investigation. A source close to the military said the PLA watchdog had wrapped up the inquiry and was waiting for the appropriate time to announce the findings. "Details of Gu's case, including the overall amount of bribes he received and all other details will be announced to the public after the NPC and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference," the source said. The case is expected to be passed to a military court.

Minnie Chan