DHARAMSALA, 18 Feb: China has hinted that it may postpone the National People’s Congress, their rubber-stamp parliament’s annual session as the regime battles to control the Covid-19 epidemic.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) will meet in late February to deliberate a draft decision on postponing the NPC’s annual session, the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
The annual gathering of China’s rubber-stamp parliament and its advisory body, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) known collectively as the “two sessions” were both due to begin early next month.
China has so far never postponed its most important political spectacle of the year since it adopted the current March schedule in 1995.
The New York Times has reported that the likely postponement of the most important spectacle on China’s political calendar reflects the Communist Party’s growing anxiety over the epidemic.
“The likely postponement of this year’s meeting suggests that the coronavirus crisis is far from over. Even in 2003, when China was battling the SARS epidemic, the congress went ahead as usual,” the report added.
While it is being widely held that the epidemic has damaged the CCP’s credibility and has become one of the most serious threats to its rule in decades, Beijing hopes that postponing the annual session “will embody the overall epidemic prevention and control arrangements made by the Party and the state and further rally support for securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.”
Meanwhile, the death tall from Covid-19 crossed 1,800 in China. Further, almost half of China’s 1.3 billion-strong population remain under varying forms of travel restrictions and other quarantine measures while it severely hindered the country’s economy,