The story appears on

Page A3

October 28, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Urban-rural legislative mix on tap

CHINA'S legislature yesterday discussed a proposal to grant equal representation to urban and rural residents in the National People's Congress for the first time.

A draft amendment to China's electoral law, under consideration by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, aims to balance the election of lawmakers.

It requires "both rural and urban areas to adopt the same ratio of people's congress deputies."

The law did not specify the exact population that a lawmaker would represent.

The legislature will decide the specific ratio after passing the amendment, said Li Shishi, director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, while briefing lawmakers at the legislature's opening session.

Li suggested that the draft amendment be submitted to a bimonthly session in December and an NPC plenary session in March next year for a second and third reading.

The electoral law provides guarantees for the election of deputies to people's congresses, the country's fundamental political system.

Li said that after the last amendment in 1995, the law stipulated that each rural deputy represented a population four times that of an urban deputy.

Every 960,000 rural residents and every 240,000 urbanites were represented by one NPC deputy, according to the law.

Critics said that this could be interpreted as "farmers enjoying only a quarter of the suffrage of their urban counterparts."

During previous amendments in the 1980s, the difference was eight times greater.

But Li said such a provision was "in accordance with the country's political system and social conditions of that time" and was "completely necessary" as the rural population was greater than that of cities and an equal ratio of rural and urban representation would have meant an excessive number of rural deputies.

The rural population made up almost 90 percent of China's total when New China was founded in 1949. With increasing urbanization, the ratio of urban to rural residents was about 45 to 53 last year.

Li said the time was right for equal representation, which was conducive to "mobilizing people's enthusiasm and creativity" and the development of democracy.

The draft amendment also added stipulations such as "organizing more face-to-face contact between candidates and electors" and "providing basic introductions of candidates."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend