BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, Monday voted to adopt a decision to postpone this year's NPC annual session.
The decision was approved at a bimonthly session of the NPC Standing Committee.
The third annual session of the 13th NPC will be postponed in an appropriate manner, so as to implement the arrangements made by the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coordinating the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak and economic and social development, continue the efforts to win the battle against the epidemic and protect people's lives, health and safety, according to the decision.
The specific opening time will be decided by the NPC Standing Committee at a later date, said the decision.
The NPC Standing Committee has made a series of preparations for the annual legislative session since it initially scheduled the session for March 5, said Shen Chunyao, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, when briefing lawmakers on the decision.
Noting that the epidemic control work is still at a critical stage that demands all-out efforts and many NPC deputies are fighting the virus at the frontline, Shen said the Council of Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee decided after careful evaluation that it is necessary to postpone the session in an appropriate manner.
This will allow efforts to be concentrated on epidemic control and put people's lives and health at the top of priority, Shen said.
According to law, measures can be taken to limit or halt mass gatherings in case of public health emergencies, Shen said, adding that the postponement is in line with the principles and spirit of the Constitution and the stipulations in relevant laws.