The annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) has begun at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People this Sunday. And you may be sure that it is nothing at all like the first day of Parliament in Ottawa. There will be no opposition motions of non-confidence, no tricky questions for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition — what on earth is that? The People’s Congress (so-called) is appointed by the inside power-brokers of the Politburo of the Communist Party. They giveth and taketh away membership in the Congress. It has no authority whatsoever in law. But it is necessary because the oligarchy that rules China understands it is a good idea to listen to ordinary people. It remains true however, 2017 and all that notwithstanding, that ordinary citizens of China don’t get to vote for dogcatcher. Thought you might like to know.