2007 NPC

Lawmakers, advisors become more vocal

Updated: 2007-03-15 16:56

Chinese lawmakers and political advisors, who are in Beijing attending the "two sessions", have been more straightforward in voicing their criticism targeting a wide range of problems such as government lavishness, corruption and rural issues.

The two sessions refer to the annual full meetings of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are considered the most important annual political events in China.

"A local government spent more than 60 million yuan (US$7.7 million) building a spa in a development zone. The money could have been used to subsidize many needy children for schooling," said Liu Bing, an NPC deputy.

Liu was just one of the lawmakers who lashed out at extravagance. Yuan Liben, a member of the CPPCC National Committee, slapped the unnecessary building of villas and golf courses across the country.

Yuan told Xinhua that he once debated about the issue with a businessman, who argued that the emergence of more villas catered to the taste of growing high-income groups.

"I do admit that there is a market reason for more villas, but is it reasonable now that there are still so many rural migrant workers living around the villas, striving so hard to earn three meals a day? What will the public think of the villas?" asked Yuan.

He was even sharper when talking about some local officials who took the advantage of their political positions to enjoy golfing.

"I wouldn't play golf, as most of Chinese people are far from such a luxurious living standard. Nor could I afford it," he said.

Criticism over the yawning rich-poor divide, put forward in Yuan's way or another, has helped make the government sober and alert, observers said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, at a panel discussion of NPC deputies, urged local officials to bear in mind "three senses", namely the sense of crisis, sense of being public servants and sense of frugality.

Hu expects the "three senses" to propel officials at various levels to keep a pioneering and enterprising spirit, serve the people heart and soul and lead the masses to achieve new progress in reform, opening-up and the socialist modernization drive.

Yin Jizuo, an NPC deputy and also president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that some officials, with none of the "three senses", have become indulged in superficial achievements and ignorant about lurking troubles, given the country's rapid economic development.

"Actually, no matter what achievements China has achieved, they can not afford to be divided by a 1.3-billion population. There are still a lot of problems waiting to be solved," said Qu Jun, vice director of the Shanghai municipal educational department and also an NPC deputy.

He considered the Shanghai social security scandal a typical reflection of the lack of "three senses" among some local officials. The scandal led to the step-down of the city's Communist Party chief Chen Liangyu, the most high-ranking official ever sacked in the past decade.

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