China’s top legislature to convene 21st session

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC)—China’s top legislature—will convene its 21st session today through August 11. This

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Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC)—China’s top legislature—will convene its 21st session today through August 11.

This session is expected to focus on proposals to amend laws regarding NPC organs, procedural rules and various public health draft revisions as well as review public security concerns surrounding the legitimacy of the administration.

The session was unexpectedly and urgently moved up by two months at Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s request. Most prominently, the session is likely to discuss the legal and constitutional ramification of the anticipated vacancy of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Lam decided to postpone the Council elections, originally slated for September 6, by a year, citing the COVID-19 health crisis. However, critics have decried it as an attempt to suppress the campaigns of pro-democracy candidates.

The NPC is likely to support Lam’s proposal of extending the Council’s term by a year rather than instituting a provisional caretaker. The spread of infectious diseases and well as turmoil in Hong Kong has damaged the Chinese Communist Party’s reputation that is predicated on sustaining an economy that legitimises its control. The leadership in China is likely to be seen as passive if it continues to emphasise its pandemic response instead of engaging its rapidly diversifying society.

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