Rising awareness to perform duties

By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-12 07:09
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My decade-long experience of covering the two annual sessions of the country's top political advisory and legislative bodies has numbed my initial excitement at seeing pretty ethnic minority deputies in flamboyant traditional costumes, or celebrities chased by swarms of reporters outside the Great Hall of the People.

But I am really impressed by the increasing awareness of National People's Congress (NPC) lawmakers and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) advisors to perform their duties.

Many Chinese viewers and readers are used to NPC deputies piling praise on the government's work report, which usually summarizes the government's work in the past year and reveals plans of the next. The premier presents the report at the opening full session of the NPC.

"The report is excellent. I have studied the premier's report earnestly and I will bring back the main points to instruct our work."

This answer, while simulated, is very typical and popular on TV screens in the past. But more deputies are now calling for efforts to "tell the truth" and are not hesitant to expose existing problems for the government.

NPC Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo has also told government officials to face inquiries and interrogations from NPC deputies, a move seen as important and substantial in overseeing government.

According to the country's Constitution, the central government, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate are under the supervision of the NPC.

Deputies are here to find problems in the government report to better improve their work. They are definitely not here to "learn" about the report.

Similarly, CPPCC members are supposed to be more critical in picking out shortcomings of the government.

On Wednesday, the eight-minute speech made by CPPCC member Zhu Zhenzhong was interrupted nine times by applause from his fellow members in the Great Hall of the People. Zhu accused some local officials of doing work just to "please the superior" to get promoted, regardless of public resentment.

The increasing awareness to perform duties better is important in Chinese political life.

If the two sessions become the true platform for deputies and members to voice public concerns and find practical solutions to widespread problems, the public will appreciate more the concept of the "people's congress".

A number of deputies and members have been creating waves with their unique suggestions, such as asking husbands to pay salaries to their wives for their homemaking role.

It is the right of NPC deputies and CPPCC members to raise all kinds of ideas, but we most certainly want them to come up with ideas that deal with problems haunting the public.

(China Daily 03/12/2010 page7)