9 months ago

The Star: April 20, 2017

24 Thursday

24 Thursday April 20 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star Essential Guide to China’s “Two Sessions” The annual political sessions in China have drawn worldwide attention as the fifth sessions of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), known as the “two sessions”(Lianghui), concluded in March. However, the “two sessions”, and what they entail, are not fully understood by many Chinese and overseas observers. “TWO SESSIONS” IN CHINA’S POLITICAL CALENDAR The term “two sessions” refers to the plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The two are held in early March every year. Those formal but wordy titles are difficult to remember, even for Chinese speakers, therefore, the Chinese moniker “two sessions” (lianghui) was coined. More than 5000 NPC deputies and members of CPPCC National Committee attend the sessions. Among them, are top leaders, renowned economists, entrepreneurs, artists and sportsmen and representatives from all walks of life. NPC deputies can submit motions, which are legally binding once adopted, while members of the CPPCC National Committee can only put forward no-binding proposals. During the sessions, the central government will reveal its annual work report, which includes the official gross domestic product (GDP) forecast as well as information on other major policies. NPC AS THE SuPREmE ORgAN Of STATE POWER According to the Constitution, the NPC is the fundamental political system in China, with about 2.6 million deputies at various levels. At the pinnacle of the system sits the NPC which exercises more than a dozen functions and powers, including the supervision of the enforcement of the constitution. The central government, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate answer to the NPC and are supervised by it. The NPC Standing Committee, a permanent body of the NPC has been active in inspecting whether governments comply with the law. In 2016, it conducted six inspections, covering about 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The NPC representatives include people from various backgrounds and cover a good cross-section of society. Direct election applies in the selection of township and county-level deputies, while the deputies at the prefecture, provincial and national levels are elected by lower level deputies. NPC deputies at various levels are key channels for community voices, reflecting local opinions and problems and enabling people to be masters of the nation. Deputies are both entitled and obliged to stand for the people’s interests and express their requests. NPC deputies are not divided into different caucuses according to party background but into 35 delegations based on where they are elected from, including 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, in addition to Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and the military. Such an arrangement is pragmatic, given China’s large territory and huge population, and ensures that NPC deputies are true representatives of the people. Though they are part-time, NPC deputies are actively engaged in state affairs. At the annual full session, they review and vote on important legal documents and personnel changes, including electing president and vice president of China every five years, as well as submit motions and proposals. Since 2005, around 500 motions have been submitted by deputies to every annual session of the NPC. When not in session, they interact with the people, take up training programs, and participate in inspections of law enforcement and surveys on important or urgent issues. OuTCOmE Of NPC ANNuAL SESSION This year, among 2,838 NPC deputies present at the closing meeting of NPC annual session, 2,812 voted in favor of the government work report; 2,793 for the work report of the NPC Standing Committee; 2,606 for the work report of the Supreme People’s Court; and 2,606 for the work report of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Lawmakers also approved the General Provisions of the Civil Law, the decision on the quota and election of deputies to the next 13th NPC to be convened from 2018, and the methods for electing deputies to the 13th NPC from Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. Other documents approved by the lawmakers included the 2017 national economic and social development plan, and the 2017 central and local budgets. CPPCC AS TOP POLITICAL ADvISORy bODy The CPPCC is an important platform on which various political parties, people’s organizations, and people of all ethnic groups and from all sectors of society work together democratically participating in state affairs. As China’s top political advisory body, CPPCC facilitates China’s multiparty cooperation and political consultation mechanism. The main functions of the CPPCC are to conduct political consultation, exercise democratic supervision and participate in the discussion and the handling of state affairs. Political consultation covers major principles and policies proposed by the central and local governments and matters of importance concerning political, economic, cultural and social affairs. Democratic supervision means offering suggestion and criticism, as well as supervision over the implementation of the Constitution, other laws, regulations and major policies, and over the work of government agencies and their functionaries. CPPCC members come from China’s various walks of life and ethnic groups. Most of the CPPCC members are experienced political figures, social celebrities, and experts and scholars specializing in various fields. SETTINg ACHIEvAbLE gROWTH TARgET One of the most important agendas of “two sessions” is revealing the government work report. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in delivering government work report pledged to continue reforms to attain the economic growth target of about 6.5 percent this year despite challenges ahead. The realistic growth target this year will help steer and steady expectations and make structural adjustments as well as help achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. Last year, China’s GDP reached 74.4 trillion yuan (10.8 trillion U.S. dollars), a 6.7-percent growth, outpacing most other economies and contributing more than 30 percent of global growth. Despite challenges, China created 13.14 million urban jobs and increased per capita disposable income by 6.3 percent. About 12.4 million people shook off poverty. Premier Li announced that in 2017, China will keep its CPI increase at around 3 percent, and create more than 11 million urban jobs with a registered urban unemployment rate within 4.5 percent. The country will also reduce its energy consumption per unit of GDP by at least 3.4 percent. Noting that China must be ready to face more complicated and graver situations including sluggish world economic growth and growing trend of protectionism, Li expressed his confidence that difficulties will be overcome as the country has a solid material foundation, abundant human resources, a huge market, and a complete system of industries. This advertorial page is supported by The Chinese Consulate ACCELERATINg SuPPLy-SIDE STRuCTuRAL REfORm According to the government work report, efforts of supplyside structural reform will center on a variety of areas, including streamlining administration, reducing taxes, further expanding market access, and reducing ineffective supply while expanding effective supply. To be specific, China will further reduce steel production capacity by around 50 million metric tons and coal capacity by at least 150 million metric tons this year. It also highlighted cutting excess urban real estate inventory, bringing down the leverage of enterprises, reducing costs for enterprises and strengthening areas of weakness including poverty eradication. fuRTHER OPENINg-uP Leaning against the anti-globalization headwinds, the Chinese government emphasized the need to further open up the economy and attract foreign investment. While joining a panel discussion during the “two sessions”, President Xi Jinping vowed the country would keep on opening up on all fronts. Premier Li Keqiang also detailed unprecedented opening-up measures to the outside world in the government work report. According to the report, significant improvements will be made in the environment for foreign investment. Service industries, manufacturing and mining will be more open to foreign investment. Foreign firms will be able to get listed on China’s stock markets and issue bonds. They will also be allowed to participate in national science and technology projects. Foreign firms will be treated the same as domestic firms in license applications, standards setting, and government procurement, and will enjoy the same preferential policies under the Made in China 2025 initiative, a plan to modernize the manufacturing sector. Moreover, China will open its door wider and import more products and technologies from overseas. And China will extend the practice of processing international trade through a single window, which enables cross-border traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location and thus improves efficiency. The authorities will achieve nationwide integration of customs clearance procedures this year. SAfEguARDINg PEACE AND STAbILITy IN ASIA-PACIfIC At a press conference after the conclusion of the “two sessions”, Premier Li Keqiang stressed China hopes to see continued peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. He said Asia-Pacific is the common home for all countries in this region, and China does not want to see any party feeling compelled to choose sides under the influence of the Cold War mentality. China hopes that the Asia-Pacific region will be one that enjoys good order and stability, a region that is able to work out issues through consultation and principles, properly manage differences and has the wisdom to resolve differences. Premier Li mentioned China and ASEAN have been pushing forward consultation on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, and substantial progress has been made in this regard. China hopes to see continued peace and stability in the South China Sea, believing that specific disputes should be addressed and resolved through dialogue among the parties directly concerned. He also stressed that China and the United States have been cooperating with each other for a long time in the Asia-Pacific region, and there is a wide area of common interests and cooperation between the two countries. Many U.S. multinationals have placed their Asia-Pacific headquarters in China. He hopes the areas of cooperation between the two countries will continue to expand.

The Star 25 Travel Visiting the mystical city of Edoras • By Mike Yardley Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday April 20 2017 IT’S THE type of scenery that screensavers are made for – Mt Sunday, deep in the heart of the Canterbury high country. I always find it fascinating to experience your own turf through the lens of a tourist, gleaning fresh perspectives from the outside world on the place you call home. Better known to movie-fans as the mystical city of Edoras, I recently joined a guided journey to this spectacular cinematic location with Hassle-free Tours. Heading south of Christchurch, in a comfortable six-wheel Toyota Land Cruiser, with elevated seating and panoramic windows, our driver-guide, Hammond, set sail on his illuminating, chatty commentary on the two-hour drive. We entered the Hakatere Conservation Park, flanked by the alpine lakes of Camp and Clearwater and their tight cluster of rustic batches. A quick photostop to soak up the expansive high country vistas served merely as an appetiser for the majesty that lay ahead. On a heavily rutted gravel Hakatere-Potts Rd, bracketed in golden hills of snow tussock, matagouri and toetoe, the most celestial viewpoint appeared at the Mt Potts Cutting, stretching across the broad basin of the Rangitata Valley, buttressed by heroically high mountains and sheer cliffs. Welcome to the Kingdom of Rohan. Much of the land belongs to Mt Potts Station, however, in the wake of the Lord of the Ringsinspired popularity, DOC created an easement to Mt Sunday aka Edoras. From the public car park, it’s a 15min walk up the southern spur of Mt Sunday. However, one of the many advantages of taking the journey with Hassle-free Tours is that it is the only operator with a concession to drive past the car park, fording the gin-clear streams and up part of the mountain, using the rutted track on the northern spur, which the land cruiser made light work of. From there, it’s a rather effortless stroll to the summit. Sixhundred metres above sea level, this rocky, protruding jewel in the MAJESTIC: Rutted gravel roads are no problem to the Hassle-free Land Cruiser. (Below) – Mt Sunday and the Rohan sword. middle of this insanely photogenic valley beckoned us like a beacon. After we’d mounted the summit, the 360deg alpine panorama is so enthrallingly kaleidoscopic, so jaw-droppingly epic, not even a month of Sundays basking in this perspective would become boring. •Turn to page 27 Mitsubishi Electric GE25 3.0kW includes FREE installation* $2,149* Mitsubishi Electric GE42 5.0kW includes FREE installation* $2,499* Mitsubishi Electric EF50 5.8kW includes FREE installation* $3,099* Choose from Black, White or Silver Mitsubishi Electric KJ50 5.8kW includes FREE installation* $3,499* Mitsubishi Electric FH50 Hypercore 6kW includes FREE installation* $3,299* Add WiFi control for just $249* *with every heatpump purchase FINANCE AVAILABLE Proud installers of Call 0800 324 678 for a free quote *includes cost of back to back install only, conditions apply