After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Standing Committee of the NPC 2. Composition of Standing Committee of the NPC 3. Tenure 4. Chairman and Vice-Chairman 5. Position.
Meaning of the Standing Committee of the NPC:
Article 57 describes the Standing Committee as the permanent body of the National People’s Congress:
The Standing Committee is the continuously working organ of the National People’s Congress. During the interval between the two sessions of the NPC, the Standing Committee exercises all the powers of the NPC. The 1982 Constitution has assigned some law-making powers directly and independently to the Standing Committee. It has further strengthened its position.
Constitutionally, the Standing Committee is an organ created by and responsible to the NPC. However in actual practice, the Standing Committee dominates the NPC. The NPC has come to be merely a registering and legalizing agency responsible for putting the stamp of legality on the acts and decisions of the Standing Committee.
Composition of the Standing Committee of the NPC:
According to Article 65, the Standing Committee of the NPC consists of one Chairman, several Vice- Chairmen, the Secretary General and some other members. In all, it consists of some 200 members. All its members are elected by the NPC. Minority nationalities are given appropriate representation in the Standing Committee. However, no member of the Standing Committee can hold any administrative or judicial office.
Tenure of the Standing Committee of the NPC:
The Standing Committee holds a tenure of 5 years. The rule is that the Standing Committee continues to exercise its powers and functions until a new Standing Committee is elected by the newly elected National People’s Congress.
The NPC has the power to recall any member of the Standing Committee at any time. No serving member of the Standing Committee can hold any post in any administrative, judicial or procuratorial organ of the state.
Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the Standing Committee of the NPC:
The Standing Committee works under its Chairman who is assisted by a team of Vice-Chairmen and a Secretary General. The Chairman convenes its meetings and presides over them. The executive meetings, involving the Chairman, the Vice-Chairmen and the Secretary General, handle the important day-to-day work of the Standing Committee.
Previously, the Chairman of the Standing Committee used to perform the functions of the head of the State of China.
However, this function is no longer exercised by him because now the office of the President of the Republic has been restored. Further, in order to eliminate long tenures for the offices of the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen, the 1982 Constitution specifically states in its Article 66 that “the Chairman and the Vice-Chairmen of the Standing Committee cannot serve for more than two consecutive terms.”
Position of the Standing Committee of the NPC:
The Standing Committee of the NPC is a powerful body. It virtually exercises all the functions of the National People’s Congress. It plays a leading role in the working of the NPC. It has powers in almost all spheres of state activity. It has legislative, financial, executive, judicial amendment-making and protection powers.
Previously, the Chairman of the Standing Committee used to perform the functions of the Head of the State. Now these functions are performed by the President of the People’s Republic of China. However, this has not adversely affected the position and role of the Standing Committee. The President of the PRC performs several of his functions on the recommendations made by the Standing Committee of the NPC.
The Standing Committee is a creation of the NPC, yet it dominates the working of NPC and performs it’s all powers and functions. Its power to interpret the Constitution as well as the power to supervise the functioning of all other state organs further makes it a powerful body.
It serves as a small and manageable group performing the important function of giving the necessary legal form and authority to the acts of the State which are in reality the decisions of the top leadership of the Communist Party. It is a creation of the National People’s Congress which, however, dominates its creator.
In the actual operation of the Chinese Political System, the real centre of power is the Communist Party of China, particularly its top leadership. The Standing Committee really works as an agency used by the Communist Party to get its decisions legalized. That is why, despite being a committee of National People’s Congress, the Standing committee enjoys a large amount of powers and functions.
The Standing Committee acts as a legitimizing agency of the Communist Party of China In reality the position and role of the Standing Committee depends upon the position that its chairman and vice-chairmen enjoy in the hierarchy of the Communist Party and their closeness with the leader at the top of the party hierarchy.