Zhang Dejiang (C, back), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), presides over a bimonthly session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 24, 2017. The session concluded in Beijing on Friday. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) closed its bi-monthly session Friday, preparing for the upcoming annual parliamentary session, adopting two laws and announcing appointments and dismissals.
Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over the closing meeting of the three-day session, which opened Wednesday.
PREPARING FOR ANNUAL SESSION
At the closing meeting, lawmakers passed a report on the work of the NPC Standing Committee. It will be submitted to the annual session after mild amendment based on the opinions of lawmakers.
Most lawmakers approved of the Standing Committee's work in the past year, Zhang said at the closing meeting.
Lawmakers also approved the draft agenda of the annual session, a draft list of candidates for the session's presidium and secretary-general, as well as the list of observers at the session.
Zhang called on legislators to think and act in line with the requirements of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China, and get prepared for the Fifth Session of the 12th NPC scheduled for early March.
"Lawmakers should propose valuable advice, respond to public concern and ensure a clean environment during the upcoming session," Zhang said.
The revised Law on the Red Cross Society, which was adopted after a third reading at the bimonthly session, aimed to further boost transparency and credibility of the country's Red Cross societies.
Red Cross societies in China are now required to give feedback to donors on the use of their donations, and staff who fail to do so could face civil and criminal charges.
"The revision primarily focuses on strengthening supervision on Red Cross societies and standardizing their activities," Guo Linmao, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, told a press conference Friday afternoon.
A previous clause giving Red Cross societies power to "rectify" illegal activities by their subordinate societies and staff was deleted from the new draft.
After several scandals, China's Red Cross has grappled with trust issues in recent years.
Revision work for the law began in 2016.
The first reading of the draft suggested that independent third-party agencies should audit donations and that an information disclosure system should be put into place.
The societies should also establish a system for financial management, internal control, public auditing as well as supervision of funds and assets.
The second draft expanded Red Cross societies' duties in stem cell and organ donation.
The Red Cross Society of China established an organ donation administration center in 2012, becoming involved in organ donations at every stage from donor registration to organ distribution.
The third reading specified that Red Cross societies could participate in and promote blood, body and organ donations, and could carry out work related to stem cell donations.
It stated that leading supervisors at all Red Cross societies must be chosen through a democratic process.
The revision will safeguard and regulate Red Cross societies in performing their duties and boost its credibility, according to Zhang Mingqi, a vice chairman of the Law Committee of the NPC.
The law will come into force May 8, 2017.
In addition, the top legislature also adopted a revised law on corporate income tax, which is expected to address the common complaint that businesses making large donations do not get enough tax concessions.
The government has waived corporate income tax on donations made by companies from their profits, but this only applies to companies that donate 12 percent of their profits or less.
The new law stipulates that if a company's donation exceeds 12 percent in one year, the balance can be deducted from the taxable income over the following three years.
REVIEWING UNFAIR COMPETITION LAW
At the session, lawmakers reviewed a draft amendment to the Unfair Competition Law, as the country strives to build a socialist market economy.
The draft revision, the first since the law came into force in 1993, was given a first reading at the bimonthly session.
The draft under consideration expands the scope of unfair competition to cover commercial bribery, false commercial propaganda, tie-in sales without buyer consent, and deceitful prize allocation, according to the draft.
The draft in particular stipulates that malicious activity on the Internet used to coerce buyers or disturb other businesses is banned.
The banned activity includes misleading, cheating or forcing users to "modify, close or unload" products or services, the draft said.
APPOINTMENTS AND DISMISSALS
He Lifeng was appointed director of the National Development and Reform Commission, replacing Xu Shaoshi.
Zhang Jun was named Minister of Justice to replace Wu Aiying.
Zhong Shan was appointed Commerce Minister to replace Gao Hucheng.
Xu Xianming was appointed deputy procurator general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Xu's request to resign as a member of the NPC Standing Committee was also approved at the closing meeting.
Huang Qifan, Zhu Xiaodan, Yang Xiong and Liu Kun were named vice chairmen of the NPC's Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, and Du Deyin was appointed vice chairman of the NPC's Ethnic Affairs Committee.
Huang Longyun was appointed vice chairman of the NPC's Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee.
Wang Xibin, former president of the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, has resigned from his post at the 12th NPC, for suspected duty-related crime.
Yu Haiyan, former vice governor of northwest China's Gansu Province, was disqualified for suspected serious disciplinary violation, and Du Chuanzhi, former Party chief of Rizhao State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission in eastern China's Shandong Province, has resigned from his post at the top legislature, for suspected disciplinary violation.
Zhao Lianguan, former vice mayor of Zaozhuang city in Shandong, also resigned from his post, for serious disciplinary violation.
The 12th NPC currently has 2,924 deputies.