China’s “Two Session” And Prospects Of Broader Co-Operation With Nigeria
By Charles Onunaiju
China’s annual “two sessions”, is an intense political summit of broad and diverse range of representatives from across the entire spectrum of the country’s landscape. It opens the core institutional organ of China’s political life to democratic accountability, reaffirms the strategic and structural link between key institutions of state power and the popular mass base, from which the authority of the state is derived and legitimized.
The annual “two sessions”, specifically refer to the yearly convocation of China’s top legislative and advisory bodies, the National People’s Congress, (NPC) which is the parliament and the country’s supreme organ of state power. The other session which run almost simultaneously with the NPC is the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a powerful and influential advisory body whose deliberations and decisions highlight key trends in China’s public life
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was the first institutional framework of modern China and its first plenary meeting from September 21st to 30th 1949 performed the historic task of the founding of modern China.
The background to the establishment of the CPPCC was to “Unite Workers, peasants, soldiers, intellectuals and businessmen all oppressed classes, all peoples organization, non-communist parties, minority ethnic groups, overseas Chinese and other patriots to form a national united front…. and establish a democratic coalition government”.
In articulating clearly the aim to form a national united front and establish a democratic coalition government, Mao Zedong proposed that for the realization of these goals, was to invite various non-communist parties, non-party figures to a political consultative conference, so as to turn the Peoples Democratic United front that had grown out of a long struggle into one that was organized and institutionalized. The experience of political consultations and people congresses, developed during the long national liberation struggle was formalized to key institutions of China’s modern state. Over years, the democratic content of the consultative and inclusive political process has deepened and broadened.
The CPPCC performed legislative functions along its deliberative format until when the first session of the National People’s Congress, (NPC) was convoked in 1954. Thereafter, decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) retained the CPPCC, a decision that eventually gave rise to the “two sessions”-The session of the National People’s Congress and the session of the CPPCC National Committee. While the full sessions of the two bodies convoke annually with delegates elected across the China’s broad political spectrum, their permanent organs which are standing Committees perform routine legislative (NPC) and deliberative (CPPCC) duties of monitoring, supervising and overseeing other key state institutions.
The framework of China’s Multi-Party co-operation is given practical effect through the extensive consultations and consensus-building of the National People’s Congress and the people’s consultative conference. The “two sessions” of the NPC and CPPCC would open in the early March, of this year and would deliberate on key trends of China’s contemporary life, including foreign policy priorities. Following a major political meeting in October, last year, the fifth sessions of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the “two sessions” will be the first national assembly to take place after that, and key decisions and resolutions are widely expected. The NPC deputies their political advisors counterpart from the CPPCC will deal with a number of issues among which the following will feature prominently.
The NPC deputies and political advisors will discuss state policies essential to the development goals set by the central government, as well as president Xi Jinping’s thoughts on governance. Xi’s role as the core of the CPC Central Committee is expected to be stressed at the sessions.
China is striving for full implementation of its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), a fundamental guide to ensuring China becomes a well-off society, after achieving a good start last year. The strategic plan outlines policy framework and priorities, with emphasis on innovation strategy, poverty reduction, and environmental protection.
As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s GDP growth rate is always highlighted during the two sessions. The country reported 6.7-percent GDP growth in 2016, the lowest level in nearly three decades, but likely to top all other major economies.
China has aimed for average annual growth of more than 6.5 percent from 2016 to 2020.
Thanks to the reform, China’s economic structure has been improved with new momentum. The country will comprehensively deepen supply-side structural reform and make it a key task in agriculture in 2017. China aims for tangible progress in key reform tasks such as cutting overcapacity.
The 19th CPC National Congress to be held late this year will elect new Party leadership and draw a blueprint for the future socialist construction cause, and is vital to realizing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. The two sessions will be eyed as a platform for preparation for the congress.
NPC deputies will review the draft general provisions of civil law of China. The general provisions will be guiding principles of the civil law and of great significance for protecting civil rights.
At a time when certain Western powers are retreating into protectionism and isolation, China has been promoting the globalization of the economy in a spirit of openness and inclusiveness. China will unswervingly continue to open up and push globalization with Chinese wisdom.
The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has won the active participation of people across China and dozens of countries and regions. China plans to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation this year to brainstorm about interconnected development.
People also expect signals on cross-Strait ties and the development of Hong Kong and Macao. Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus, which stresses the one-China principle, has hampered cross-Strait communication.
In 2017, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will elect a new chief executive and celebrate the 20th anniversary of its return to the sovereignty of China.
After hosting the G20 Summit last year, China will host the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation and the ninth BRICS leaders’ summit this year.
China’s diplomacy in 2017 will face various tests, including how to maintain good, win-win relations with the United States under the Trump administration.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Information on China’s defense budget will be released during the two sessions.
China-Nigeria co-operation would receive impetus, as the outlook on China’s foreign policy would get fresh momentum and the comprehensive co-operative engagement with Africa, for which Nigeria is a major anchor and player would be considerably boasted. The “two sessions” are China’s most cherished democratic festivals and this year’s session are particularly important because it would herald the crucial 19th national congress of the Communist Party of China, (CPC) later in the year.
Mr. Onunaiju , director, Center for China Studies, (CCS) Utako, Abuja.