BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The amendment to China's election law will expand people's democracy and safeguard their rights "to be masters of their own destiny," a parliament spokesman said here Thursday.
Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the Third Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), told a press conference a day before the meeting's opening that the amendment was to "provide institutional guarantee for improving the people's congress system and advancing socialist democracy."
The parliament is to amend the Electoral Law, which was adopted in 1953, during the upcoming annual session.
The amendment aims to ensure equal electoral rights between urban and rural people by adopting the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in elections of people's congress deputies.
Li said "conditions are ripe" to adopt the same ratio "at one go," which manifests the principle of equal electoral rights for each citizen, region and ethnic group.
After the last amendment in 1995, the Electoral Law stipulates that each rural deputy to the people's congress, at any level, is to represent a population four times that of an urban deputy. The ratio was eight to one before 1995.
Li said although it was "not entirely equal," but it reflected the country's reality at that time.
The structure of the country's population changed with the urbanization drive, he said.
Rural population made up almost 90 percent of the country's total in 1949. With the process of urbanization, the ratio of urban and rural residents was about 45.7 to 54.3 last year.
The "8 to 1 ratio" was a "reasonable arrangement" and "necessary step" toward a more equal election, Li said, adding a more complete electoral system would be adopted in the future with the country's political, economic and cultural development.
The parliament is stepping up legislation efforts to ensure the establishment of a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics "by the end of this year," he said.
Li said the establishment of a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics by 2010 is a goal set by the Communist Party of China at its 15th national congress in 1997.
"It is a major task for the legislature to meet this target this year," Li said.