A sea of lingo and acronyms

Every year, the Chinese government organizes a series of sessions in Beijing to approve new laws and amendments and confirm leadership stances. The event is called the Two Sessions( lianghui or in Chinese) because it comprises two major assembles: the National People Congress, or NPC, and the National Committee of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference, or CPPCC.

The NPC, sometimes called Chinas parliament, has around 3, 000 delegates, many of whom are government officials and representatives from around the country, or serve as military leaders. Most of the delegates are members of the Communist Party of China and are responsible for new legislation and appointments of officials.

However, much of the NPC seems symbolic. In fact, many Western media outlets call it a rubber stamp parliament, a word Chinese nation media occasionally complain is insulting to the system of government. But its difficult to avoid the characterization since the NPC almost never repudiates the laws and regulations put before it. Instead, many of the real decisions are made behind closed doors at various Communist Party sessions, the most important of which is the National Party Congress held every five years.

The CPPCC, on the other hand, which has around 2, 000 delegates, is somewhat different: many of its members are not Communist Party members, its role is strictly advisory and it has no legislative power. As a outcome, many CPPCC members are business people and celebrities, including the basketball player Yao Ming, the actor Jackie Chan and the tycoon Wang Jianlin. Other members of the CPPCC include officials from Chinas eight other political parties outside of the Communist Party, parties which have no real legal power and cannot contest elections but offer the ruling party a means of calling the country a multiparty government.

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The event is stage-managed and heavily regulated.