V. We expanded channels for contact with deputies to support and ensure the law-based performance of their duties.
Only by strengthening contact between the Standing Committee and NPC deputies and between NPC deputies and the general public and understanding the people's thoughts, expectations, and wishes can we truly exercise power and perform our duties in the service of the people.
Through standardization of the system for direct contact with deputies, members of the Standing Committee were able to contact 440 deputies directly. By doing so, we created an express lane for reaching out to the people and soliciting their opinions. During Standing Committee meetings, we held 4 discussions with invited deputies in which 186 NPC deputies participated and submitted suggestions and proposals, with relevant departments working diligently to study and implement them. We expanded the involvement of deputies in the work of the Standing Committee and special committees, inviting them to attend Standing Committee meetings and participate in law enforcement inspections and research projects. In principle, NPC deputies were invited to participate in research projects carried out by members of the Chairperson's Council of the Standing Committee. We organized research projects and inspection tours for 1,850 deputies, including visits of the Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan delegations to Guangdong, Chongqing, Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Hainan, and Qinghai, in order to encourage deputies to engage with local communities, understand the situation on the ground, and get in touch with members of the public more frequently. For the convenience of organizing and carrying out such activities, deputies to this NPC were divided into 272 groups, and engaged in a wide range of activities to perform their duties.
We continued to make the proposals and suggestions of deputies an important basis for setting tasks in legislation and oversight, drafting laws, and promoting improvement of our work. Relevant special committees completed their examination of all 325 proposals referred to them by the Presidium of the First Session of the 13th NPC. Among these, 9 legislative items addressed in 19 of the proposals have already been reviewed and adopted by the Standing Committee, 4 legislative items addressed in 22 of the proposals have been submitted for review, and 60 legislative items addressed in 143 of the proposals have been included in our five-year legislative program or annual legislative plan. We improved mechanisms for handling deputies' suggestions, with all 7,139 suggestions, criticisms, and comments submitted by deputies already handled, and 76 percent of the problems raised therein either already resolved or currently being addressed. A total of 20 key suggestions drawn from 192 specific suggestions were referredto 36 departments for implementation under the strict oversight of relevant special committees, with vigorous advancement of related work.
As members of the NPC, NPC deputies represent the interests and will of the people, and perform the duties entrusted to them in the Constitution and the law. The Standing Committee attached great importance to improving deputies' conduct and building their capacity for duty performance, supported electoral bodies in strengthening supervision over the duty performance of their deputies in accordance with the law, and promoted the establishment of records on deputies' duty performance, with a view to improving deputies' abilities to engage in the management of state, economic, cultural, and social affairs.
VI. We acted in the service of China's overall diplomatic work to effectively carry out our work on international exchanges.
The NPC's work on international exchanges is a component of China's overall diplomacy. Over the past year, we sent 71 delegations with a total of 660 people on visits to 46 countries, and received 58 delegations with a total of 730 people from 34 countries and 2 multilateral parliamentary organizations. We thus used exchange and cooperation between legislative bodies to effectively serve national strategies and safeguard national interests.
Earnestly implementing the foreign policies of the Party Central Committee, we consolidated and deepened exchanges with the parliamentary bodies of major countries by keeping in contact with the national parliamentary bodies of Russia, the United States, France, and Japan as well as with the European Parliament, and by holding the fourth meeting of the committee for cooperation between China's NPC and the Russian parliament. We strengthened exchanges with the parliamentary bodies of neighboring countries and African countries, held a seminar for members of parliament from developing countries, and enhanced friendly cooperation with the parliamentary bodies of countries along the Belt and Road.
We actively participated in meetings of multilateral parliamentary organizations, made concrete efforts to guide the development of emerging multilateral mechanisms such as the speakers' meeting of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS Parliamentary Forum, and played a constructive role in the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Parliamentary Speakers' Summit at the G20. China's proposals to build a human community with a shared future, to jointly develop the Belt and Road, and to uphold multilateralism have won widespread recognition. We also clarified our principles and stance to give an NPC voice in response to negative proposals, erroneous statements, and improper actions by some countries' parliaments.
In our international exchanges, we actively promoted implementation of important consensus reached between President Xi Jinping and foreign leaders to provide legal support for our cooperation and exchange efforts with other countries. With a firm commitment to the socialist path of political advancement with Chinese characteristics, we informed our counterparts about the advantages and qualities of the people's congress system to boost the international community's understanding and recognition of China's path and model of development as well as our philosophy of governance.