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China legislature giving more seats to women, workers

China legislature giving more seats to women, workers

BEIJING — Increasingly known as a rich man's club, China's ceremonial legislature now plans to give more seats to women, farmers, workers and professionals.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday that changes to the makeup of the National People's Congress would also reduce the proportion of delegates representing the ruling Communist Party and government departments, who now constitute about one-third of the roughly 3,000 members.

Xinhua gave no details on what the new quotas would be. When the current legislature was seated in 2013, 23 per cent of its members were women. No figures were immediately available on workers and others.

The NPC and its advisory body meet in full session just once a year for about 10 days. The day-to-day work of vetting legislation is handled by the NPC's much smaller standing meeting that meets twice a month.

Over recent years, the two bodies have become known as the wealthiest assemblies in the world, with a recent study from the Shanghai-based Hurun Report saying that more than 150 billionaires are included within their ranks.

They include Ma Huateng of microblogging firm Tencent Ltd., with a net worth of $24 billion, and Robin Li, chairman of internet search giant Baidu, who has a fortune of $14 billion.

Xinhua quoted NPC Vice Chairman Wang Chen as telling delegates on Wednesday that the leadership of the ruling Communist Party was on guard against fraud and vote buying in the selection of deputies by members of their provincial assemblies.

Last year, 45 deputies from the northeastern province of Liaoning were ejected for vote buying.

Wang indicated more changes might be on the way, saying president and party leader Xi Jinping had "put forward a whole new set of ideas, propositions and requirements on the development of socialist democracy and the system of people's congresses."

The Associated Press