BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang Sunday called for full confidence in the country's basic political system at the ongoing annual parliamentary session.
Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), delivered a report on the work of the Standing Committee at a plenary meeting attended by nearly 3,000 lawmakers at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
"We should firmly maintain our confidence in the system of people's congresses, and advance it with the times," Zhang said.
The people's congress, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in September, has been proven to be the fundamental political system that fits in China's reality, reflects the socialist nature of the state and guarantees the people's position as masters of the country, he said.
Wang Xiaochu, an NPC deputy from Beijing among the audience of Zhang, told Xinhua that he agrees the system of people's congresses has been well established and functioned since its founding in 1954.
From the national level to a small township, there are people's congresses and at the NPC there are deputies from different regions and various backgrounds, said Wang, also deputy director of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee.
At the township and county levels, deputies to the people's congress are directly elected by citizens.
"It is different from the western parliament system but fits in China's reality and historical traditions. There are many forms of democracy and the people's congress is one of them," he said.
The year of 2013 was the first year of the 12th NPC's five-year term.
Building on the past achievements, the Standing Committee took new steps in the work of the NPC, and ensured that its work got off to a good start, Zhang said.
Members of the NPC Standing Committee described the legislature's work in the past year as "a good beginning" with improved efficiency and effects.
The Standing Committee has not only continued the good practices of its predecessor but also added new elements, said Bai Zhijian, a member of the NPC Standing Committee.
Over the past year, the NPC Standing Committee deliberated 15 bills and draft decisions on legal issues, of which 10 of them were passed; and revised 21 laws and enacted two, according to Zhang's report.
The top legislature introduced new methods to improve the quality of legislation.
The public used to be informed and asked for opinion about a bill once, usually after its first reading. Last year, the legislature started to add one round of opinion soliciting after the second reading of a bill.
In another new move last year, experts and parties of interest were invited to evaluate bills before they were put to vote.
"Through these methods, opinions from different sectors were pooled, helping lawmakers draft better motions," Bai said.
Supervising the governments, courts and procuratorates is another major task for the NPC.
Over the past year, the NPC Standing Committee listened to and deliberated 15 work reports of the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, inspected the implementation of four laws, conducted three special inquiries and carried out five investigations on specific problems.
The top legislature has responded to social issues attracting great public attention.
In response to strong calls on curbing pollution, the top legislature read the draft amendment to the environmental protection law twice last year. Although the bill has gone through three readings, the NPC Standing Committee has yet to put it for a vote.
Facing criticism that NPC deputies only exercise their duty once a year at the annual session, the NPC Standing Committee tried new measures to help the deputies better fulfill their roles.
The Standing Committee divided NPC deputies into 260 groups so that deputies can better coordinate with each other and solicit public opinions in a more efficient way.
They organized deputies to join investigations and inspection fieldwork on specific issues, and an increasing number of NPC deputies were invited to observe the bi-monthly session of the NPC Standing Committee.
Xian Runxia, a village official and an NPC deputy from south China's Guangdong Province, observed a bi-monthly session of the NPC Standing Committee in February.
Most of the motions, discussed at the NPC Standing Committee meetings, were new laws and law amendments that seemed a bit distant from Xian's daily work in a small village. But Xian said she believed the participation is important.
"I consider it as a chance to learn as well as an opportunity to get my voice heard," she said.
"Senior lawmakers probably are not aware of the needs and concerns of people in remote areas, like my village. What I told them may not have any direct impact, but at least they are listening," she said.