Actively Performing the Functions of the People’s Congress to Ensure the Success of the Shanghai World Expo

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 09:58
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 The Shanghai World Expo 2010 opened May 1, attracting the attention of the world. This is another major world event held in China following the Beijing Olympics. The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress has recently been focusing work on preparation for the Shanghai World Expo. We made use of the functions and powers granted to local people’s congresses in terms of legislation, oversight and major decision-making by the Constitution and the law to formulate or amend a number of local laws and regulations and oversee implementation to ensure they were put into force in order to guarantee that the Shanghai World Expo would be a successful, splendid, and unforgettable event. The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress made good use of the role of deputies to the people’s congresses at all levels in encouraging all citizens to participate in the Shanghai World Expo and help to implement the theme of the Expo, “Better City, Better Life,” and ensure that all citizens share in the benefits of the World Expo.

 I. We provided legal support for urban development and management to improve the social and legal environment for the Shanghai World Expo.

 Improving legislation not only provided legal guarantees for the success of the Shanghai World Expo but also injected fresh vitality into efforts to ensure continued, comprehensive and sound development of the city in the future through improvement in the regulatory system. The Shanghai World Expo provided Shanghai with a good opportunity to improve its urban management system. By improving the existing system and updating laws and regulations no longer suitable for the current state of urban development, the city ensured that all facets of city management were on a solid legal footing. The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress worked hard to tackle difficult and long standing problems by taking full advantage of its legislative function to develop systems and standards that break down systematic and mechanical barriers between departments.

 In compiling the five-year legislation plan and the annual legislative plan, the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress gave top priority to formulating or amending local regulations concerning the preparation and hosting of the Shanghai World Expo. During 2009 alone, the people’s congress passed the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on the Management of the City’s Appearance and Sanitation, the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on Volunteer Services, the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on the Demolition of Illegal Buildings, the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on Control of Smoking in Public Places, the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on Tourism, and the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on Fire Safety. In addition, legislation concerning matters of great concern to society, including the Shanghai Municipal Regulations on Maintaining Overall Public Order and the Shanghai Municipal Regulations for the Implementation of the Food Security Law of the People’s Republic of China, will soon be enacted in 2010. 

 II. We formulated standards for hosting the Shanghai World Expo, improved government administration and services, and moved closer to true rule of law.

 The Shanghai World Expo is the first in history to use the city as the theme. “People’s lives and the development of the city are closely related” is the theme concept of this Expo. Government departments were confronted with the problem of how to plan for and develop the city’s “hardware,” how to balance urban development and environmental protection, and how to be more effective in providing public services. Taking advantage of the hosting of the World Expo to improve the government’s management style was necessary as part of efforts to promote the rule of law and an inevitable consequence of the effort to promote government administration according to law. The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress standardized administrative actions and provided the legal basis for administrative actions through legislation and major decisions. In addition, we promoted government administration according to law in government departments and put into operation the preparation plans for the World Expo through oversight and inspection.

 The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress passed in June 2008 the Decision of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress on Shanghai’s Effort to Promote and Guarantee Effective Preparation and Hosting of the Shanghai World Expo. The decision authorized the Shanghai Municipal Government to adopt interim administrative measures concerning public order, roads and transportation, production safety, food hygiene, city appearance and the environment, and advertising management, and to formulate government regulations and issue decisions during preparation for and hosting of the Shanghai World Expo after reporting them to the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress for the record, provided such measures did not contravene the Constitution, laws, or administrative regulations. The effort to provide legislation guarantee for the Expo involved many aspects, so in spite of the fact that concerned departments did all they could to fully analyze the situation, there are still some issues in the long process of preparing for and hosting the Shanghai World Expo that are not covered by the laws and regulations. The interim authorization granted to the municipal government by the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress provided a good legal basis for the municipal government’s efforts to ensure sound urban operation during preparation for and hosting of the event.

 III. We took full advantage of the role of deputies to the people’s congress in encouraging everyone to take part in hosting the Shanghai World Expo and creating a harmonious atmosphere that allows everyone to take part in the event and help improve urban life.

 All of the citizens of Shanghai have been mounting a concerted effort since Shanghai won the bid to host the World Expo in December 2002 to develop the World Expo sites and make arrangement for exhibits, improve urban infrastructure, and create a favorable environment for the success of the event. The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress supported and promoted realization of the theme of the World Expo, “Better City, Better Life.” Deputies to the people’s congress at all levels incorporated preparations for the event in their daily work and life and dedicated themselves to ensuring that Shanghai’s hosting of the event would be successful.

  The Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Shanghai Municipality holds its first special conference on September 15, 2010 on the subject of “establishing a permanent effect mechanism for city management after the World Expo.” / Photo by Ni Yongcheng  Source: www.eastday.com

 The decision of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress called on all citizens, government organs, enterprises and institutions, social organizations, self-governed community level organizations, and people’s governments at all levels and their departments to ensure preparation work for the Shanghai World Expo goes smoothly. At the beginning of the one-year countdown for the event, the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress and the people’s congresses of all Shanghai districts and counties launched a campaign with the theme of “Improving the legal environment to ensure a great Shanghai World Expo.” More than 1,600 deputies to the people’s congress at all levels and over 20 thousand ordinary citizens solemnly signed their names on the Citizens’ Commitment to Work for the Appearance and Sanitation of Shanghai. The Standing Committee also strengthened efforts to publicize and explain the event by passing legislation and carrying out oversight and surveys. Before the convention of the session of the municipal people’s congress, we organized deputy inspections focused on the eight areas, including food security, development of roads and transportation, and volunteer services to contribute our wisdom and strength to help in hosting of the Shanghai World Expo. Deputies at all levels maintained close ties with the people and the communities where they work or live in order to instill a sense of honor and responsibility in all citizens towards the event, encourage them to participate in the Expo and support and work for the event, and motivate and guide them so they can be good hosts and do a good job in hosting the event. Some deputies published ideas and suggestions in the news media to promote and ensure success in the preparation for and hosting of the Shanghai World Expo to create a social atmosphere in which everyone takes part in and supports the preparation for and hosting of the event. 

 Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the People’s Republic of China, investigated preparations for the Shanghai World Expo in January 2010. He pointed out that we need to make plans for the period after the event, focusing on long-term development to take advantage of the intangible resources generated by hosting the event to continue the momentum in economic and social development. We need to ensure that we host this event in accordance with the law, focusing on three areas. We need to integrate the effort to ensure the success of the Shanghai World Expo with the work of amplifying the results of hosting the event through legal means. We also need to integrate support for the event with the performance of our routine duties in accordance with the law. And again, we need to integrate the effort to make use of the material resources left over from the event to promote urban development with the effort to improve the culture of the city using the intellectual, cultural and ideological fruits of the event. We need to take this opportunity to further improve Shanghai’s municipal legislation, use legal means to take full advantage of the after effects of the event, and ensure that the municipal government applies what it learns from its success in preparing for and hosting the Expo and the effective interim measures to improve the institutions for normal urban management. We must make the hosting of the World Expo as a new source of pride for the city and use the results of the event to strengthen the drive for the sustainable development of Shanghai.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 9, 2010)


Note: Author: Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress

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