01 February 2016
For the third year in a row, I was invited to participate in the meetings of the Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as an “overseas observer delegate” (OOD). I must admit it is both a privileged experience and an exceptional opportunity to be able to participate in China’s political consultative process, albeit at a municipal level, Tianjin is a centrally administered municipality, and in an indirect manner.
The CPPCC is a unique feature of China’s political system. Many outsiders mistake it as the upper house of China’s legislature. But unlike the US federal and most state levels and many other British Commonwealth countries with bicameral legislatures, China has a unicameral law-making system at all levels, with the National People’s Congress (NPC) as the sole house of its “parliament.”
As I understand it, the CPPCC, on the other hand, was meant to be an advisory body enabling representatives from various political, social, economic, cultural and other important groups to engage in constructive political consultations with the aims of enhancing China’s overall development and well-being. Proposals devised by the CPPCC are often taken up by the NPC and after further deliberations may be enacted into laws.
But for me, the most amazing aspect of CPPCC’s composition is the inclusion of OODs such as myself. OODs could take part in most of the CPPCC activities, including both the plenary and the break-out sessions. But unlike the “usual” delegates, OODs cannot vote for proposals.
… The author is a senior fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 02/02/2016