A total of 15 expatriates participated in a simulated meeting of the Huzhou Municipal People's Congress Standing Committee in East China's Zhejiang province on Thursday, voting for the passage of two local draft laws to learn about how people's suggestions are heard and adopted.
"I think it's a good introduction to the way that the political system works in China," said Brian Keith Kirkpatrick, who participated. A US citizen, he has been teaching in China since 2018 and now lectures at Huzhou University.
Kirkpatrick voted "yes" for the initiatives of the new policies introduced at the meeting — "Huzhou's Regulations on the Construction of Beautiful Countryside (Draft)" and "Decision of Standing Committee of the Huzhou Municipal People's Congress on Promoting and Guaranteeing High-quality Development and Construction of Green Pilot Program on Common Prosperity Demonstration Zone (Draft)".
"I'm familiar with some of the details of these projects in the city, and I think they would be good for the city's local development and economy," he said.
Kirkpatrick was among 15 expatriates from 11 countries, including Switzerland, Canada, the US, Russia and South Africa, who participated in the activity organized by the Huzhou Municipal People's Congress. It was the third year that Huzhou held this simulated meeting to introduce China's legislative system to the world so that foreigners can better understand how it works.
Like many cities in China, Huzhou has introduced policies and projects to welcome experts from overseas in recent years. Now, 13,000 foreigners live and work in Huzhou, almost doubling the number 10 years ago.
Before voting, Sun Xianlong, Party secretary and director of the Huzhou Municipal People's Congress Standing Committee, introduced the details of the meeting and gave the expatriates a preliminary understanding of the basic functions of the legislative system and the role it plays in society.
"Welcome to the Huzhou Municipal People's Congress. I'm very glad to have you here," Sun said to the foreigners.
After a draft is proposed, it is discussed by groups of deputies, or legislators, in the Standing Committee of the local People's Congress, and later put to a vote at a plenary session. A draft that is approved by more than half the total number of deputies will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the provincial People's Congress for deliberation before being formally adopted.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is the highest organ of State power in China. The standing committees of local people's congresses at or above the county level meet at least once every two months.