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China's top legislature conducts inquiry into gov't 2009 accounting

BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- In effort to enhance its supervisory role, China's top legislature held an inquiry Thursday into the central government's final accounting for 2009, the first-ever inquiry held into a particular matter.

On behalf of the State Council, China's Cabinet, several senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, attended the inquiry to answer questions raised by lawmakers at the 15th session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature.

The lawmakers focused on issues of general public concern such as how to improve the management of central government's budgeting and accounting, deepen the reform of financial and tax systems, and increase spending on social welfare projects.

The decision to order inquiries into government work on certain issues of general public concern, which would require the attendance of senior officials of central government departments, was adopted during the annual NPC session in March.

Li Fei, vice chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said the inquiry was a concrete and important step for the NPC Standing Committee to exercise and improve supervision of the government.

According to the Law on Oversight, which took effect in 2007, senior officials of central government departments, the Supreme People's court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, if requested, are required to attend legislative meetings to respond to lawmakers' questions over bills or government work reports being reviewed.

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