After reading this article you will learn about the working and position of the State council of PRC.
Working of the State Council:
The State Council works under the leadership, direction and overall responsibility of the Premier. It is directly responsible to the NPC and reports to the latter about all its activities and decisions.
When the NPC is not in session, the State Council is responsible before the Standing Committee of the NPC. The members of the State Council have to answer all questions that are put to them by the Deputies of the NPC.
The ministers-in-charge of various ministries and commissions are responsible for the work of their respective departments. Each of them presides over the ministerial/commission meetings convened for discussing and deciding the major issues before the department.
On the basis of the policies, rules, regulations and orders issued by the State Council, the ministries and the commissions issue orders, directives and regulations for their effective implementation in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
In its working, the State Council (Acting under Article 88) holds two types of meetings: the Plenary meetings and the Executive meetings. The former are attended by all the members of the State Council and the latter only by the Vice-Premiers, State Councillors and the Secretary General.
The Premier, however, presides over both types of meetings. Important policy matters are sought to be speedily handled by the executive meetings which, because of a limited membership, are capable of working more effectively.
Further, the State Council establishes an auditing body for supervising the revenue and expenditure of all departments of the State Council, local governments, financial organisations, enterprises and undertakings. For carrying out the day-to-day administrative work, the State Council has a Secretariat.
It works under the direction of the Secretary General of the Council. Thus, the 1982 Constitution provides specific rules and guidelines for the working of the State Council.
Position of the State Council:
As the ‘executive body of the highest organ of state power’, the State Council occupies a pivotal position in the Chinese constitutional system. The Head of the State Council—the Premier is a powerful man, rather one of the most powerful men of China at a given time.
The berths of the State Council are always in the hands of the top influential leaders of the Communist Party. This makes the position of the State Council quite formidable. It has been given wide and impressive powers by the 1982 Constitution.
Constitutionally, the State Council is responsible before the NPC and in its absence before its Standing Committee. The NPC and its Standing Committee play a key role in the appointment of the Premier and other members of the State Council. The Standing Committee supervises the work of the State Council.
It enjoys the power to reject those of its administrative rules and regulations, decisions or orders which contravene the Constitution and the laws. The Deputies of the NPC have the right to put questions to the ministers and they are required to answer these in a responsible manner.
The power to interpret and apply the Constitution belongs to the Standing Committee. The National People’s Congress alone can amend the Constitution. This appears to make the State Council subordinate to the NPC and its Standing Committee.
However, it is not always the case in the reality. If the State Council has powerful communist leaders as its members and the Premier is the top leader of the Communist Party, it works as a very powerful organ of state power.
Usually the State Council works as a powerful body because the person who holds the office of Premiership is a very powerful, if not the most powerful, leader of China. Li-Peng, a powerful top level leader of China acted as a strong Premier during his tenure of 10 years. His position remained strong as a result of his strong hold over the party machinery and the support that he enjoyed from the party leaders.
The power of the personality and the party status of the person who holds the office of the Premier, always acts as a big source of power for the State Council. The State Council then acts as a powerful institution. However, its power-position is not as great as is of the cabinet of a liberal parliamentary democracy like the one existing in India.