Introduction to Committee of NPC
The National People Congress China meets once in a year and that also for a very short period of time, therefore, during its long absence, some other body is needed. As in Soviet Russia, the Presidium acts and exercises all the powers and functions of the Supreme Soviet of USSR. When the latter is not in session, the Standing Committee does its work in the constitution system of China. The Standing Committee of the National People Congress exercises almost all the powers and functions of the National People Congress. Article-57 of Chinese constitution describes the Standing Committee as “Permanent body”.
Composition of NPC
The Standing Committee consists of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary General and some other members. All these members are elected by the National People Congress. According to Article-69, the Standing Committee is responsible to the National People Congress and reports to it. The members of the Standing Committee may be recalled by the National People Congress.
Term of Office
The Standing Committee is elected for a term of 4 years. But even after the expiry of its term of office, it continues to function till the new standing committee is elected by the next National People Congress of China. The chairman and Vice-Chairman do not serve for more than 2 terms.
Powers and Functions of the Standing Committee of China
According to Article-67 of Constitution of China the Standing Committee exercises the following powers and functions:
The Committee interprets the constitution and statutes. It also enacts and amends the statutes. It supervises the work of the State Council, the supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procurator and the Central Military Commission. It also annuls the decisions and orders of the State Council, which are in contravention of the constitutional laws or decrees. It also has the power to annul or revise decisions of the governments of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central authority.
It decides on the choice of the ‘Ministers, Auditor General and Secretary General of the State Council upon nomination by the Premier and members of the Central Military Commission upon recommendation of its Chairman. It also appoints and removes the Vice-Presidents, judges and other members of the judicial committee of the Supreme People’s Court, the Deputy Chief Procurators, Procurators and other members of the Procurator Committee of the Supreme Procurate. It further decides the appointment and recall the ambassadors of China accredited to foreign states. It ratifies and abrogates treaties concluded with foreign stars as well as other agreements. It issues the proclamation of state of war when the Congress is not in session, in the event of armed attack on the country or in fulfillment of international treaty obligation concerning common defence against aggression. It proclaims the enforcement of Martial Law throughout the country or in certain parts and also decides on general or partial mobilization. It institutes military, diplomatic or other special titles and ranks. It grants special pardons. It institute state medals and titles of honours and decides on whom to be conferred. Lastly it exercises and performs such other powers and functions as are vested in the Standing Committee by the Congress.
The National People Congress performs its functions through various committees such as the Bills Committee, the Budget Committee, the Credentials Committee, etc. All these committees work under the direction and supervision of the Standing, Committee when the Congress is not in session. However, it must be remembered that the powers enumerated above, though quite impressive are neither complete nor exhaustive. The constitution authorizes the National People Congress to vest in the Standing. Committee any other powers, thus the National People Congress and not the constitution is the final determining authority and to what powers shall be enjoyed by the Standing Committees.
Like the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Standing Committee occupies central position in the constitutional structure of China. Constitutionally speaking, it is the Committee of the National People Congress and is responsible to it. But in actual practice, it acts as the legislature of the Chinese Republic. Being a small body and practically dominated by the Communist Party of China it occupies an enviable position in the structure of the Chinese government.