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China Moves to Delay Parliament for First Time in Decades -

China Moves to Delay Parliament for First Time in Decades(Bloomberg) -- China is considering delaying its most high-profile annual political meeting for the first time in decades, as the government attempts to contain an outbreak of a deadly new strain of coronavirus.The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will meet Feb. 24 to consider a delay of the annual meeting of the full parliament planned to convene March 5, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday. The Standing Committee will also consider measures to curb practices that may have contributed to the deadly strain of virus jump to humans, including a ban on the wildlife trade and the consumption of wild game.Some 3,000 members of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, were expected to convene in Beijing for about two weeks of meetings attended by President Xi Jinping and other top leaders. The annual political pageant also includes meetings by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body made up of around 2,000 representatives from companies, ethnic minorities, cultural organizations and other groups.While the decision was widely expected, it represented an acknowledgment by the Communist Party that the health crisis that began in the central province of Hubei had disrupted basic mechanisms of government. China has held its so-called Two Sessions in March every year since 1985, when then-paramount leader Deng Xiaoping formalized the legislative calendar as part of his reforms after Mao Zedong’s turbulent rule.Zang Tiewei, spokesperson for the NPC’s legislative affairs commission, was cited as saying the body’s deputies were needed back home, among which a third are local officials. “In order to ensure that people’s attention is focused on the prevention and control of the epidemic and that people’s lives and health are given top priority, the chairman’s council, after careful assessment, considered it necessary to postpone,” Zang said, according to Xinhua.High RiskChina unveils its annual economic targets, defense spending projections and other key policy decisions during the NPC meetings. The party has also used the occasion to announce major policy changes and personnel reshuffles, like Xi’s 2018 decision to scrap term limits, which paved the way for him to rule indefinitely.This year the NPC had been expected to deliberate on a draft Civil Code, consisting of sections on property, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, inheritance and torts. Xinhua also said the Standing Committee would continue to deliberate proposals for appointments and removals, without elaborating -- hinting that further personnel reshuffles could be underway despite the cancellation.Officials faced the risk that some attendees could unintentionally transmit a virus that has already sickened more than 70,000 and killed almost 1,800 in China. And gathering political leaders at great expense in the capital while many Chinese remain cooped at home could also prompt public criticism.What You Need to Know About the Spreading Coronavirus: QuickTakeThe municipal government of Beijing has instituted rules requiring 14-day self-quarantines for new arrivals in the capital, meaning deputies would’ve had to arrive by this week to attend the meeting without a special exception.Xi has ordered “all-out” efforts to contain the crisis, which has already proved more deadly than the SARS epidemic that killed almost 800 people across Asia 17 years ago and led to widespread criticism of China’s response. Beijing has taken unprecedented steps to slow the latest outbreak, including banning travel from the hardest-hit areas in central China.On Feb. 13, China abruptly replaced the top leaders of Hubei and its capital Wuhan. Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong was named to replace Jiang Chaoliang as provincial party secretary, in a rare political shakeup.A flurry of municipal legislatures across China had delayed their annual meetings in recent weeks, including the cities of Jinan, Qingdao, Wenzhou and Zhengzhou. The provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan also postponed their legislative meetings.“Though it’s a rare move, in reality the possible delay of the legislature meeting wouldn’t have much tangible impact on legislative work,” said Yang Dong, a law professor at Renmin University in Beijing. “The main focus of this year’s NPC meeting is to vote on the long-expected Civil Code. But other than that, there are no other urgent issues like major personnel reshuffles that need to be addressed.”(Updates with NPC comment in fifth paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the time in March that the NPC has been regularly held.)\--With assistance from Peter Martin and Jon Herskovitz.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Yinan Zhao in Beijing at;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Mon, 17 Feb 2020 04:19:18 -0500

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it? -

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?Beijing (AFP) - The coronavirus that emerged in central China at the end of last year has now killed nearly 1,800 people and spread around the world.

Sun, 16 Feb 2020 23:26:45 -0500

Japan suffers worst economic slump in five years -

Japan suffers worst economic slump in five yearsJapan has suffered its worst quarterly GDP contraction in more than five years, with a tax hike and a deadly typhoon taking a toll on the world's third-largest economy. The nation's gross domestic product in the three months to December shrank 1.6 percent from the previous quarter, even before the novel coronavirus outbreak in China hit Japan, according to official data published on Monday. The quarter was marked by a rise in consumption tax from eight percent to 10 percent, as well as Typhoon Hagibis, which killed more than 100 people and caused widespread flooding.

Sun, 16 Feb 2020 21:22:14 -0500

China may postpone annual congress because of virus -

China may postpone annual congress because of virusChina said Monday it may postpone its annual congress in March, its biggest political meeting of the year, as the military dispatched hundreds more medical workers and extra supplies to the city hit hardest by a 2-month-old virus outbreak. The standing committee for the National People’s Congress said it believes it is necessary to postpone the gathering to give top priority to people’s lives, safety and health, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Sun, 16 Feb 2020 20:24:42 -0500

Police allegedly held a black student at gunpoint. Now the governor wants an investigation -

Police allegedly held a black student at gunpoint. Now the governor wants an investigationThe governor of Illinois on Thursday urged police to investigate the alleged wrongful arrest of Jaylan Butler, a black college student swimmer.

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