China’s New Foreign Policy Team

The first annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) in China has just ended with the ‘election’ of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang as President and Premier respectively and approval of a new cabinet of ministers. Despite the NPC’s largely rubber-stamp role – candidates approved by Congress were pre-selected by the Chinese Communist Party – the first sitting of the NPC was important because among other things, it also announced the line-up of China’s new foreign policy team.

It is important to note that major foreign and security policy initiatives are the preserve not of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as part of the Chinese government but of the Communist Party. Read more

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China’s ‘Parliament’: Clear and Present Challenges

Originally published as जबिन टी. जेकब, “चीन में परिवर्तन की राह में असमंजस,” Business Bhaskar, 7 March 2013, p. 4.

The Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) together form the equivalent of China’s national parliament broadly representing a lower house and upper house respectively. The 12th NPC will ‘elect’ China’s new President and the Premier – Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang respectively – who were in fact decided by the 18th Communist Party (CPC) Congress in November last year. It is also the 18th CPC Central Committee that has approved the candidates for China’s new cabinet of ministers (or the State Council) and the heads of China’s equivalent of the Supreme Court and of its investigative and prosecution agencies.

While the Party continues to be the more powerful than the government in China, the symbols of state such as the NPC are increasingly vocal. This 12th NPC will see discussion over a variety of topics that will keep China’s new leaders engaged over the next decade. Read more