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.
Pan-democrats see little point in fighting for NPC seats next year
Pan-democratic candidates might be absent for the first-time in 15 years when 36 seats for local delegates in the National People's Congress open for re-election early next year.
At least one political scientist believes this could be caused by a more sensitive political atmosphere in the city, and the pro-establishment camp's growing interest in grabbing seats in the national parliament.
The tenure of Hong Kong's 36 NPC delegates will expire next year, and a new batch of delegates will be returned by 1,800 electors.
In 2008, four pan-democrats - including the Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun and Mak Hoi-wah, the Civic Party's Chong Chan-yau, and Frederick Fung Kin-kee from the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood - failed in their bid.
In a gathering with journalists yesterday, Fung said he had "very little interest" in running again.
"I ran twice, and I tried to contact every elector last time, but ended up getting only 266 votes, which was far from the minimum required to win."
Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit and Democratic Party acting chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing also said they did not believe anyone from their parties would run this time, because it was impossible for a pan-democrat to win.
Political analyst Dr James Sung Lap-kung said the Democratic Party had been "slammed" after negotiating with the central government's liaison office over the 2010 electoral reforms.
"So if they did run, they could be criticised as holding hands with the Communist Party.
"And there will be intense competition in the pro-establishment camp."