China’s National People’s Congress to open session May 22
Beijing, Apr 29 (efe-epa).- The annual session of the 13th National People’s Congress of China, which was postponed on Feb. 24 due to the coronavirus crisis in the country, is set to be held on May 22, state-run Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.
The decision was adopted by the NPC Standing Committee, which met over the last three days in Beijing to set a new date and discuss the matters to be included in the session.
The NPC session, which gathers some 3,000 delegates from across the country at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, usually goes on for 10 days and it lays down the main economic and political objectives of the year.
The announcement of the commencement of the session holds a symbolic meaning as it represents a return to political normalcy of China when the majority of the countries are still focused on fighting against the pandemic.
The NPC session, in which Chinese President Xi Jinping is also present along with the top leaders of the country, was postponed this year for the first time in decades, and several restrictions against the disease continue to be in place.
Among other matters, the NPC sets China’s economic growth target for the given year, however it is not yet clear that it would do so this time due to the uncertainty on the economy’s development because of the impact of the pandemic at national and international level.
The effects of coronavirus led to a 6.8 percent contraction in GDP in the first quarter of 2020, the first fall to be recorded since 1976.
The forecast for the year, according to international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund indicates China’s growth to be 1.2 percent while others have projected it at 3 percent.
If the NPC sets a growth target this year, it would be seen as a sign in favor of a greater or narrower economic stimulus policy decision by Beijing.
The annual meeting, which usually continues for a period of at lest ten days, also deliberates defense and education expenditures along with other important political and social matters, including the draft civil code.
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a consultative body which usually meets for a week in a parallel session along with the NPC, is set to convene on May 21, Xinhua said. EFE-EPA