China sets annual congress date, signaling COVID-19 confidence

Domestic News
Credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

Last week, Beijing announced that it would hold its annual legislative session, the National People’s Congress (NPC) session, on May 22 — about two and a half months delayed from the initial date of March 5. (Xinhua: English; Chinese.) The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which serves an advisory role, will meet starting on May 21.

What does this mean? The setting of a date for the “Two Sessions,” as the meetings of the NPC and CPPCC are known, is the clearest signal yet that China’s leaders are confident they have contained COVID-19.

  • This is especially true in the capital itself, where officials said there had been “no new confirmed local or imported COVID-19 cases for 13 consecutive days,” so the city lowered its emergency response level starting on April 30, Xinhua reports.
  • Travelers from most other parts of China — not including “high- and medium-risk areas and Hubei, the province hardest hit by the virus” — to the capital will no longer have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival.

But China is not out of the woods yet: A meeting of senior leaders of the Politburo Standing Committee held last week focused almost entirely on COVID-19 and the vigilance still needed to fight it, according to state media (in Chinese).