The top body in China’s highest legislature will convene in Beijing in late April, state media said Friday, in the latest sign of the country returning to normality in wake of coronavirus-imposed shutdown.
For the first time in decades, China cancelled its annual parliamentary meeting scheduled for March. The key political gathering is typically known as the “two sessions,” referring to the proceedings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and, in parallel, a mostly ceremonial advisory called the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). It is usually one of the most politically sensitive times of the year, with dissidents aggressively tracked and censorship heightened.
Thousands of delegates from all over the country typically convene in the Great Hall of the People off Tiananmen Square in central Beijing for the event. China currently mandates that anyone arriving from outside the capital must spend two weeks in quarantine before they’re allowed to move about freely.
While Beijing has yet to issue a date for the “two sessions,” the standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) will meet in Beijing from April 26 to 29, the official Xinhua news agency said. It marks a step towards announcing a future date for the other, larger gathering.
The Global Times explained: “While Chinese President Xi Jinping’s inspection of Wuhan on March 10 signaled the success of the fight against the coronavirus epidemic in the heavily hit province of Hubei, the opening of the ‘two sessions’ indicates China is walking toward normalcy, which are milestone indicators of the country’s epidemic battle.”
This year, items on the NPC’s agenda will likely include how to get China’s lagging economy back on track, as well as the ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
The body is also “expected to deliberate proposals on revising the laws on animal epidemic prevention and the People’s Armed Police Force, and amending the copyright law,” the official Xinhua news agency added.