Liberal members of the National People's Congress are poised to sponsor changes to the constitution on top of those approved by Communist Party authorities. A parliamentary source said NPC deputies, and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, had received at least three non-official proposals for revising the charter. Earlier this year, party authorities said they were asking the NPC to make six revisions to the constitution. These included elevating the status of Deng Xiaoping Theory, enshrining the principle of 'ruling the country according to law' and recognising the contribution of non-state-run enterprises. The source said yesterday, however, that liberal deputies thought the official revision was too 'limited and conservative'. 'Originally the Politburo considered making nine amendments but only six changes were proposed as a concession to the leftist, or Maoist, wing of the party,' the source said. 'Among the changes not adopted was the principle of the inviolability of private property and the need to protect it.' It is understood quite a few NPC members will sponsor a motion saying the right of private property must be enshrined to encourage private enterprise. Cao Siyuan, a scholar-turned-consultant and constitutional expert, said there should be more amendments to protect citizens' civil rights. 'One official amendment will do away with the category of 'counter-revolutionary crimes',' he said. 'But this is just a start. The principle of the presumption of innocence should be enshrined in the supreme charter.' Other suggestions centre on protecting the rights of workers. The issue of unemployment and social unrest is among the hottest for this NPC. Meanwhile, a political source in Beijing said the authorities had postponed the drafting of a law on political parties and one on news and publication. 'Last year, liberal members of [President] Jiang Zemin's think-tank suggested that the NPC pass laws on political organisations and on publications,' the source said. 'Laws allowing greater political participation and less censorship would be seen as a sign of liberalisation. But such moves have been shelved.'