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Is china's national people's congress a "conservative legislature"

Abstract

Critical deputy speeches and opposition to draft bankruptcy, enterprise, and villager committee laws have led some observers to conclude that the National People's Congress (NPC) is a conservative, obstructionist force in Chinese politics. This article reviews the evidence for this claim and finds that the NPC's institutional impact is more accurately described as procedurally conservative than as substantively conservative. Not a staunch opponent of market reforms nor of redefining the role of the Communist Party, the legislature instead stands for rationalizing and legalizing policymaking and for guaranteeing policy implementation; it weighs in on the side of caution, carefully-planned change, and minimizing risks, and against campaign-style politics and reliance on revolutionary enthusiasm and charisma.

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