Officials face the music on 'two sessions'
Updated: 2008-03-14 19:48
BEIJING -- When Railways Minister Liu Zhijun joined a panel discussion with lawmakers, he found he faced a greater challenge than even the snowstorms had posed for him earlier this year.
Amid lawmakers' criticism on the incapability of relief work that left millions of train passengers trapped along China's artery railway, Liu gave his answer.
"The snow disaster exposed a laggard railway situation far behind the country's economic and social development. The criticism will help us keep alert and motivate us to improve the current situation," said Liu Zhijun while joining a group discussion with legislators from Jiangxi Province.
His scenario was recast by Health Minister Chen Zhu who replied sincerely to criticism among political advisors on the government's low health care budget.
"There is still a long way to go for China's medical reform, but we will try our best. We are ready to face the criticism for 10 to 20 years at least," said Chen.
During the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), it has been a normal practice for these ministers to face the annual inspections from lawmakers and political advisors and provide answers for better decision-making and improving people's livelihood.
"It is very effective for government officials to have panel discussions with us. We can express freely and directly our concerns and dissatisfaction with the government's work," said Wang Mengshu, an NPC deputy from Henan Province.
This is also a good opportunity for government officials to explain policies based on free and democratic communication.
Instead of blindly accepting the suggestion to ensure a free compulsory education in high school and pre-school stages, Education Minister Zhou Ji clarified that the time had not been ripe for China to do so.