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Lianghui or Two Sessions in A Nutshell: China’s Biggest Annual Political Event

BEIJING : China’s annual parliamentary meetings, known as the Two Sessions or lianghui, will kick off this weekend in Beijing.

This year’s meetings come after the end of China’s zero-Covid policy and a leadership reshuffle in the Communist Party in 2022, and will be closely watched for signals of its priorities for 2023.

What is lianghui?

The annual meetings of China’s top political advisory body and legislature are collectively known as lianghui.

They are largely concurrent and usually last about one to two weeks in March at the Great Hall of the People, where key political events take place.

The top advisory body, or the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), will hold the first of the two meetings, starting on Saturday (March 4).

The body is made up of about 2,200 representatives from political parties, ethnic minority groups, and various sectors such as sports, religion, business and science and technology, and they will deliberate on state affairs.

The CPPCC has no lawmaking power, unlike the legislature or National People’s Congress (NPC).

The NPC meeting starts on Sunday, and will involve about 3,000 deputies, including those representing China’s provinces, autonomous regions, centrally-administered municipalities, the armed forces and Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

What goes on in these two weeks?

The meetings are highly scripted affairs meant to showcase the government’s achievements in the past year and introduce future plans.

During the NPC’s opening, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang will deliver the annual government work report and unveil key economic targets, such as the country’s gross domestic product for the year.

The NPC will review the report, the government’s plans and budgets for the coming year. The CPPCC will discuss important political, social and economic issues, and make proposals.

The meetings will end with a press conference held by the new premier – widely expected to be Li Qiang after his appointment as the second-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the apex body of the Communist Party – in 2022.

Why is lianghui closely watched?

China watchers follow the meetings keenly for indications on the country’s future direction.

The events also offer Chinese and foreign media a rare degree of access to top Chinese officials, as the premier and foreign minister typically hold press conferences.

Source : TheStar