The National People's Congress, abbreviated NPC, is the highest state body and the unicameral legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing; with 2,987 members, it is the largest parliament in the world. The NPC gathers each year along with the People's Political Consultative Conference whose members represent various defined groups of society.
NPC and CPPCC together are often called the Lianghui, making important national level political decisions. In theory, the NPC is vested with great lawmaking powers. However, for most of its existence, it has acted as a nearly powerless rubber-stamp legislature, ratifying decisions that have already been made by the Communist Party of China and the country's executive organs. This has long been typical of legislatures in Communist countries.
Since the 1990s, the NPC has become a forum for mediating policy differences between different parts of the Party, the government, and groups of society. However, the BBC still describes the NPC as a rubber-stamp for party decisions. One of its members, Hu Xiaoyan, told the BBC that she has no power to help her constituents. She was quoted as saying, "As a parliamentary representative, I don't have any real power."