So you’re watching the NPC: a useful guide

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China’s annual National People’s Congress (NPC) – also known as the Two Sessions or lianghui – began at 9am this morning and already, delegates and media are trying to figure out where the best place is to get some lunch. The NPC is often confused with the gaming term ‘npc’ – non-playable character – meaning an automaton controlled by artificial intelligence. Here’s our short but handy guide to understanding the NPC

A group of delegates celebrate the conclusion of the 2012 NPC

A group of delegates celebrate the conclusion of the 2012 NPC

Less big government There are almost no new laws or amendments before the legislators this year, and no big personnel changes. As one delegate put it, “We’ve given ourselves the year off”

No filibustering After President Hu Jintao’s mammoth three-hour work report in 2012, everyone has agreed to keep proceedings short, snappy and meaningless

Economic growth Keep repeating: “7.5 percent. 7.5 percent. 7.5 percent.” That’s predicted to be the new standard for tipping in restaurants

Financial reform Expectations that China will ease capital controls, revalue its currency or liberalize interest rates are expected to be dashed on the jagged rocks like a matchstick boat

Social services Some would be nice

Military spending With tensions rising in the South China Seas, some say China is increasingly willing to flex its muscles regionally. As the old joke goes, “How can you kill the devil dwarves without a 12.2 percent increase in military spending?”

Corruption Many boutiques and brothels are predicting a dip this year

Political reform Another old joke

Follow all your NPC news on Twitter with @chinadailyshow

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