Chinese legislative authorities have proposed reforming the electoral law governing the allocation of seats in local and national legislative bodies in an effort to redress discrimination against rural residents, according to a spokesman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) quoted in a March 4 Xinhua article (English, Chinese).
The PRC Election Law for National and Local People's Congresses establishes a 4:1 urban-rural ratio in electoral representation for national and provincial-level legislative bodies. Rural legislative deputies to national and provincial bodies consequently represent four times as many constituents as their urban counterparts, leaving migrant and rural interests underrepresented. [For more analysis, see this post from Don Clarke's China Law Prof Blog]. This reflects a broader pattern of institutional discrimination against migrant and rural residents on the basis of their hukou (household registration) status. [For more analysis, see this topic paper (English, Chinese) of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.]
NPC spokesman Jiang Enzhu noted China's increasing urbanization created a need to amend the electoral law in order to gradually ensure equal representation for urban and rural residents. He stated that the NPC standing committee had proposed that the reforms be included in the NPC legislative plan for 2008. However, he noted that "it
is up to the 11th NPC Standing Committee, to be elected at the upcoming
session, to make final decision" as to whether to include such reforms.