A Chinese legislature official said here Wednesday that the top lawmaking body was improving procedures of inquiries and interrogations of cabinet officials.
Questioning ministerial officials face-to-face about government work is a concrete and important step for the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee to exercise supervision of the government, Li Fei, deputy director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, said on the sidelines of the annual parliament session.
Li said according to the the Law on Oversight, taking effect in 2007, senior officials of central departments, the supreme court and the supreme procuratorate should attend legislative meetings to respond to inquiries raised by lawmakers concerning bills or government work reports being reviewed.
Interrogations are different from inquiries. Li said the law requires at least 10 NPC Standing Committee members, five standing committee members of provincial congresses, or three standing committee members of county-level congresses to raise bills of addressing interrogations.
He said officials could answer interrogations orally or by submitting written files.
"If more than half of the NPC Standing Committee members who had raised the interrogation bill are not satisfied with the answer, the interrogation would go on," Li said.
Inquiries and interrogations of cabinet officials were included in the work report of NPC Standing Committee, delivered by top legislator Wu Bangguo to nearly 3,000 lawmakers Tuesday.
Wu said the top legislature would hear State Council departments' reports on issues of widespread concern among NPC deputies this year.
Observers believe it is a major step forward to improve the lawmaking body's supervision role.