BEIJING -- Singaporean James Cai Mao may not know the meaning of the "scientific outlook on development", a highly publicized slogan in China, but the political catchphrase might bring him business opportunities.
His opportunity came as China launched an 18-month campaign starting last September to "further study and apply" the creed of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Cai, who was born in southwest China's Guizhou Province in 1962 and now a Singaporean citizen, wrote to the provincial party chief Shi Zongyuan on October 23, the very day when Shi publicized an e-mail address to solicit public suggestions to develop, based on the "scientific outlook", the poor inland province.
Shi's move was part of the campaign, which required officials open their minds, listen more to the people and improve efficiency.
In his mail, Cai suggested the province build health farms, where urban people could go for a healthful regimen of regular exercise and special diets, as a way to promote agriculture and create jobs for rural residents.
"I've been living and working abroad for more than 20 years. I hope to introduce some advanced ideas and technology to my hometown to help its development," Cai, a researcher with a computer science institution in Singapore, told Xinhua in an e-mail.
SEEKING SCIENTIFIC SOLUTIONS
Suggestions like Cai's, which can inspire officials with specified development idea rather than empty theory, might be what they hope to see at the upcoming sessions of the top political advisory body and the parliament.
The two sessions are usually regarded as a major platform for officials to solicit people's suggestions.
The most important annual political events, the full sessions of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC), will discuss and work out measures for economic and social development.
With international financial crisis still spreading, this year's "two sessions" are expected to attract intensive public and media attention, with focus on how the country can pull through the crisis under the guideline of the scientific outlook.
The political advisors in Beijing for their annual meeting showed in their proposals great concern to the country's 4-trillion-yuan (585.5 billion USdollars) stimulus package, saying efforts should be made to prevent "overlapping construction," according to Zhao Qizheng, spokesman of the CPPCC National Committee's annual session.
A proposal on easing unemployment pressure under the background of international financial turmoil, raised by the Central Committee of the non-communist China Zhi Gong Party, has been listed as the No.1 proposal of this year's session of the CPPCC National Committee.
Guo Ziyi, a deputy to the NPC from Guizhou, said the scientific outlook on development is by no means an empty slogan. "I expect less newspeak and more scientific and effective measures (from the sessions)."
Other thorny issues such as social security, medical care, and corruption will also be on the agenda of lawmakers and political advisors.
In an online poll by Xinhuanet.com days before the opening of the two sessions, corruption still tops netizens' concerns even as the nation is struggling to cope with the impact of international financial crisis.
They complained at the online forum that their interests were ignored or violated by local officials.
Some people even put articles on their blogs, expressing their anxiety that the money from the stimulus package might be embezzled.
Bureaucracy, a chronical problem, is another factor that might hinder China from recovering from the economic downturn.
When chatting with netizens on Sunday, Premier Wen Jiabao pointed out that only by creating a clean government can ensure the economy to grow steadily.
"I always think that people has the right to know what the government is thinking and doing, and voice their criticism of government policy," he said.
To win people's support, the Chinese government has taken measures to ensure people's participation in major policy-making. For example, public hearings are being frequently held in the drafting of major laws and policies.
"If the governments are more transparent, efficient, open-minded and service-oriented, I believe the economic stimulus plans would be better implemented," said NPC deputy Guo, a member of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, one of China's eight non-Communist parties.
Since last October, the government has announced several aggressive measures to bolster domestic demand and increase investment, including the stimulus package, a plan to expand rural consumption of home appliances and support plans for key industries.
Experts believe that the scientific outlook, which the Chinese leaders have repeatedly emphasized as an approach to overcome current difficulties, would be further elaborated at the "two sessions".
The doctrine was inscribed in the CPC Constitution at the Party's 17th National Congress in 2007.
The concept emphasizes caring about the well-being of people, promoting comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development and balancing different aspects of social life, said Prof. Wang Yukai of the National School of Administration.
Wang said it was a coincidence that the campaign of studying and applying the concept was closely connected with the international financial crisis.
"The campaign actually started before the financial crisis," he said. "But I do believe the approach of the scientific outlook could provide solutions to curb the economic downturn," he said.
China has made significant achievements since it adopted the reform and opening-up policy 30 years ago. But the country also paid a high social and environmental cost for its rapid economic growth.
"China is now striving to keep economic growth, but it shall never return to the old-style industrialization featuring high input, high consumption and high pollution," Wang said.
"The approach (of the scientific outlook on development) is consistent with China's efforts to fight against the financial crisis, which forced the country to change its economic growth pattern and invest more to improve people's livelihoods," he said.