China’s annual NPC meeting to begin today

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) will convene today to begin its annual parliamentary session in Beijing. The gathering, usually held

ChinaReuters

Photo: Reuters

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) will convene today to begin its annual parliamentary session in Beijing. The gathering, usually held in March, was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Legislators are likely to pass the nation’s first civil code, which will formalise property and personal rights, and will consider whether to scrap the practice of setting an annual GDP target. They will also discuss fiscal stimulus measures aimed at repairing economic damage caused by the pandemic.

The 3,000 delegates in attendance are expected to portray the government’s pandemic response in a positive light. The approach could draw further criticism from world leaders such as US President Donald Trump, who has sought to blame China for the harm wrought by COVID-19 and requested that Beijing pay “very substantial damages”.

Delegates will have the opportunity to respond to Trump’s recent threats to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods, upsetting trade relations that had tentatively cooled after both nations signed onto “phase one” of a trade pact in January. A NPC decision to respond with its own tariffs would be devastating at a time when Washington and Beijing’s economies are vulnerable to conflict.

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