5) We worked hard to promote the spirit of the Constitution.
We comprehensively implemented the system of pledging allegiance to the Constitution. We organized, in accordance with the law, six ceremonies for 25 officials to publicly pledge allegiance to the Constitution when they took office, demonstrating the sanctity and authority of the Constitution. On the occasion of the third National Constitution Day, and the opening of a history exhibition hall for the 1954 Constitution in Hangzhou, General Secretary Xi Jinping gave important instructions, stressing that raising public awareness of the Constitution is an important task in advancing the law-based governance of China. The General Office of the NPC Standing Committee, together with relevant departments of the central authorities and the Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress, organized a National Constitution Day seminar in Hangzhou to spread knowledge of the Constitution and promote its implementation.
We heard and deliberated the State Council's report on the implementation of the resolution on the sixth five-year initiative to popularize knowledge of the law, and adopted a resolution on launching the seventh five-year initiative to raise public awareness of the rule of law. We required that great effort be made to understand and communicate General Secretary Xi Jinping's major expositions on comprehensively advancing the law-based governance of China, give play to the role of the "critical minority" consisting of leading officials in promoting the practice of respecting, studying, abiding by, and applying the law throughout society and particularly among public servants, and affirm the authority of the Constitution and other laws.
Attaching great importance to ensuring judicial impartiality, we heard and deliberated the report of the Supreme People's Court on enhancing judicial openness and the report of the Supreme People's Procuratorate on strengthening oversight of investigative activities. We helped improve judicial credibility through our efforts to promote deepened reform of the judicial system, increase judicial openness, and standardize judicial behavior.
We formulated the procedures for recording and reviewing normative documents to standardize and institutionalize this work. Over the past year, we reviewed every one of the 30-plus administrative regulations and judicial interpretations submitted by the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, handling 92 suggestions on the review work from various departments. We conducted oversight to ensure correction of provisions discovered to be inconsistent with the law, so as to safeguard the unity of the country's legal system.
5. We worked to see that deputies to the NPC fully played their principal role.
We regarded giving full play to the role of deputies as an important measure for boosting the vitality of the NPC's work, and have continued to deepen and expand our work related to deputies.
1) We worked to see better communication between the Standing Committee and deputies and between deputies and the people.
We implemented the guidelines for ensuring members of the Chairperson's Council and members of the Standing Committee maintain close contact with NPC deputies. This has helped us to strengthen our ties with deputies. We made it a regular practice for deputies to observe Standing Committee meetings, participate in law compliance inspections, and join the activities of special committees of the NPC and working committees of the Standing Committee. Over the past four years, we saw a cumulative deputy attendance of over 1,270 at Standing Committee meetings in a nonvoting capacity, as well as an attendance of over 1,200 in law compliance inspections and other activities. We urged the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate to strengthen their contact with deputies. In 2016, the State Council and its relevant departments invited over 1,700 deputy participants in their research activities and discussions, and the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate involved over 600 deputies in their research projects. We issued the guidelines on improving the system by which deputies to people's congresses maintain contact with the people. For this purpose, we advanced the development of venues and online platforms enabling deputies to develop closer ties with the public, and improved the mechanism for relevant government departments to process and give feedback on the proposals and requests of the public passed on to them by deputies.
2) We improved our efficiency in examining deputies' proposals and ensuring handling of their suggestions.
Relevant special committees completed their examination of all 462 proposals referred to them by the Presidium of the Fourth Session of the 12th NPC. Of these, we have adopted 10 legislative items addressed in 32 of the submitted proposals; are deliberating 7 legislative items addressed in 26 of the proposals; and have included 42 legislative items discussed in 123 of the proposals in our annual legislative plan or five-year legislative program. All 8,609 suggestions, criticisms, and comments submitted by deputies have been handled, and 80.6% of the problems raised therein have been resolved or have been scheduled for gradual resolution.
The State Council, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and relevant government departments attached great significance to the handling of deputies' suggestions, and the General Office of the Standing Committee and relevant special committees of the NPC worked conscientiously to coordinate and oversee this work. The State Council convened multiple executive meetings to hear reports on the handling of deputies' suggestions, and put forth the requirement that relevant departments make the handling of deputies' suggestions a standard and high-priority annual task, strengthen their communication with deputies, promptly respond to deputies' concerns, and accept deputies' oversight so as to ensure sound decision-making. In short, the comments and suggestions of deputies were seriously considered and adopted by relevant government departments as they developed policies and carried out their work.
3) We helped deputies improve their thinking, work style, and capabilities.
We meticulously formulated and carried out study and training plans for deputies, helping them grasp and put into practice the guidelines of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Party Central Committee and improve their thinking and work style. Last year we organized three study sessions and one seminar on special topics, which were attended by more than 1,000 deputies. We also organized research projects and inspection tours for deputies, which yielded a number of fruitful results and helped to move forward work in relevant fields.
6. We gave full expression to the NPC's role in serving China's overall interests through its international exchanges.
We remained committed to the principle of complying with and working for China's overall development interests and diplomatic work. We carried out overall planning for and greatly advanced the NPC's foreign relations work.
We strengthened and improved the mechanism of regular exchanges with foreign parliaments. The NPC has a mechanism for regular exchanges or carries out political dialogue with the parliaments of 20 countries including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, and South Africa, as well as with the European Parliament. Last year, we established mechanisms for cooperation with the parliaments of Kenya and Israel.
Delegations headed by members of the Chairperson's Council visited 19 countries including Zambia, France, Finland, and Vietnam, helping maintain the positive momentum of high-level exchanges with these countries. As Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, I attended the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), at which I delivered a speech presenting China's stand on promoting peaceful development of the world and greater democracy in international relations. The attendance of the Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee at the IPU Assembly for the first time in history has helped to greatly increase the international influence of the NPC.
We explored new forms of multilateral parliamentary diplomatic activities, working together with the IPU to hold, in China for the first time, a seminar for members of parliaments of Asian and African countries. We stepped up foreign exchanges and cooperation at various other levels, such as those conducted by NPC special committees, bilateral friendship groups, working bodies of the Standing Committee, and local people's congresses. We continued to arrange for the NPC Tibetan Delegation to proactively conduct foreign exchanges. Over the past year, we received 55 parliamentary or other delegations.
Based on the NPC's unique features and strengths, we put great effort into improving its foreign relations work in both scope and depth. (more)