In an unprecedented move, China is considering to postpone its annual Parliament session next month during which the ruling Communist Party showcases its political clout, as the country grapples with the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed over 1,700 lives.
Moves are afoot to put off both the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the top advisory body Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which together have over 5,000 members in their ranks.
The Standing Committee of the NPC will meet in late February to deliberate a draft decision on postponing the NPC’s annual session, among other items on the agenda, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The NPC which lasts about two weeks was originally planned to open on March 5 in Beijing. Preparations for the session have been made.
But after the outbreak of COVID-19, epidemic prevention and control has become the most important work. It is now a crucial moment to curb the spread and win the battle, so no effort should be spared, Zang Tiewei, a spokesperson for the top legislature’s Legislative Affairs Commission said.
The CPPCC National Committee held a meeting on Monday in Beijing to deliberate the postponement of the annual session of China’s top consultative body.
If the session of the NPC, which is often regarded as rubber stamp Parliament for its routine approval of Communist Party proposals, it will be regarded as an unprecedented move.
The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) considers the two sessions as significant political events to adopt its national agenda, including the annual budgets and formulate new laws.
The postponement is reportedly being contemplated as the coronavirus continued its virulent run, though officials say it is slowing down.