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Fighting Corruption Among Issues to Be Discussed at China's NPC
Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/fighting-corruption-among/1020404.html
Source Date: Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: China
Created: Mar 04, 2014

BEIJING: Reform is the buzzword as China's parliament prepares to convene its annual session on Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's push to fight corruption will be one of the key issues on the discussion tables.

And this time round, China's top legislature will be looking to battle corrupt officials from the ground up with a review of litigation laws.

They want to prevent cover-ups and make it easier for citizens to seek redress against those in power.

It is notoriously difficult for members of the public to challenge authorities through the courts in China, which are controlled by the party.

Fu Ying, spokesperson of the National People’s Congress, said: "Over the past years, the chances of a plaintiff winning such litigation cases have dropped significantly.

"There are also cases when the government department is unwilling to be the defendant or the court is unwilling to take up the case. The masses say they do not dare to sue; even if they sue, they will not win."

The highest organ of state power will also draw up legislation to support the key agenda item of deepening economic reforms this year.

Observers are watching out for the latest gross domestic product (GDP) target, which was given at 7.5 per cent last year. Analysts expect a GDP range instead of a specific target to be announced to downplay the emphasis on growth, as the Chinese leadership attempts its tough balancing act between long-term structural change and short-term growth.

Another issue that will be in focus is China's defence budget.

There are concerns about the country's growing military might, amid simmering territorial disputes with its neighbours

But China said the continual modernisation of the military is in line with its commitment to peaceful development.

Ms Fu Ying said: "From China's history and experience, peace can only be preserved with strength. But if there are countries that provoke, China will have to retaliate. This is both to protect China's sovereignty and also to maintain peace and order in the region."

China's annual military budget grew by 10.7 per cent to US$114 billion last year, and it maintains it has never treated any country as an enemy or a threat. 

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