Say goodbye to 'smilence' at annual sessions

By Zhang Jiawei (
Updated: 2010-03-02 16:09
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If you can ever find a word to describe what most of our members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were doing at the sessions, it must be a word combining the most creative thoughts and a Chinese characteristic.

'Smilence' is the word. Look familiar? It's a combination of 'smile' and 'silence', which was created by China's talented netizens to show a facial expression or a kind of response to other people's actions.

That kind of response was just what most of our members of the National Committee of the CPPCC were giving when exercising power at the annual sessions.

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The website cited some observers as saying that two-thirds of the members of the committee never raise any proposals, more than 10 percent never speak and 30 percent never join any organized discussions.

"In the year of general elections, the sum of ballot tickets returned would be two to three less than those handed out,” Zhao Yongqiu, a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC, was cited by the website as saying. “Some people say the missing ballot tickets may have been stored as collectibles,” Zhao said.

Some members even think their role is just an honorary title. Some never speak a word at meetings and don't know what to do or how to make a proposal, the website said.

The 'smilence' phenomenon has decreased in recent years though, the website said. A lot of members, such as China's richest lady Zhang Yin and the star official Li Jinhua, have drawn public attention by raising valuable proposals.

As this year's annual plenary sessions of the National Committee of the CPPCC and the National People's Congress are set to begin, let's hope the members do more than sit in silence. They should do what are expected of them.