The annual session of the National People’s Congress is going to start on next Monday March 5th. A few campaigns are sending out special messages this week to target the annual meeting. First off, Ding Zilin, leader of the Tiananmen Mothers sent an open letter to Human Rights in China calling on the NPC to allow discussion and publication of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 (HRIC press release in English and Simplified Chinese with full text of the letter). And today, Amnesty International released a new report on the discrimination and abuse of migrant workers in China (report summary in Simplified Chinese). The Foreign Ministry was quick to respond that the government is working on the problems.

Internally, there is a focus on the re-education-through-labor system in which police can send those who have committed minor crimes to special RTL centers up to four years. Many activists have experienced this system including Mao Hengfeng who continuously petitioned the authorities after she was forced to have an abortion and lost her job. A discussion has been going around advocating for abolishment or a new form of the system. The timing is interesting because AI released a memorandum about RTL last May directing towards the State Council and the Legislative Committee of the NPC. May be the migrant workers will be the hot button for the NPC in 2008.

The NPC will definitely attract attention from the press inside and outside of China. A warning was sent to China’s executives of broadcast media back in January to ensure the media would not stir any commotion during the NPC meeting and later the 17th annual National Congress of the Communist Party of China (which is held every 5 years, unlike the NPC sessions that are held in March every year). But good news went to the overseas journalists who will be allowed to interview NPC deputies directly.

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Update (3-3-2007)

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