China’s top legislature discusses electoral reform for Hong Kong

(AP/CCTV)

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, opened its bi-monthly session on Monday with a dozen important bills under review.

The opening meeting of the seven-day session in Beijing was presided over by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.

Lawmakers started discussions with a report from Special Administrative Region (SAR) Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on whether to revise election methods for his successor in 2017 and the region’s Legislative Council in 2016.

“Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying submitted the report to the NPC Standing Committee on July 15. The report is based on the results of a public consultation by the Hong Kong SAR government,” Zhang said.

The report’s submission marked another step towards plans to introduce universal suffrage to Hong Kong chief executive’s election in 2017.

Four bills were tabled for their first reading. These included draft revisions to the region’s Legislation Law, Advertisement Law and National Security Law.

The bill on Legislation Law proposes an expansion of the number of Chinese cities with legislative powers from 49 to 282.

Meanwhile, the draft revision on National Security Law suggests changing the law’s title to Counterespionage Law and adding more provisions to the law.

Lawmakers also read a bill regarding minor revisions to five laws facilitating the central government’s ability to cancel or decentralize administrative approvals. It was the first time the bill had been reviewed.

In January, the State Council, or China’s cabinet, canceled and decentralized a number of administrative approvals, some of which required legislative revision in order to happen.

The bill suggests changing provisions for laws pertaining to insurance, securities, registered accountants, government purchases and meteorological services.

For example, the bill removes a provision that asks actuaries to obtain qualification from the government insurance regulator. It also authorizes provincial governments to punish those who undermine the safety of meteorological facilities.

Three bills were submitted to lawmakers for additional readings. The draft amendment to the Budget Law was submitted for a fourth reading while the bill to revise its Workplace Safety Law and one to revise the Administrative Procedure Law were included in the second reading.

Lawmakers discussed two other draft resolutions, one about setting Sept. 30 as Martyrs’ Day and another to set up special courts for intellectual property rights cases in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press, CCTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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