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CPPCC to heed calls from grass roots
By Xu Binglan (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-04 07:34

The head of China's top political advisory body urged its members on Friday to heed the calls from the grass roots to build a harmonious society as advocated by the central government.

CPPCC chairman Jia Qinglin speaks at the opening session of the fourth session of the 10th national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2006. CPPCC opened at 15:00 today and will close in the morning on March 13.[Newsphoto]

"We should pay more attention to social development and people's livelihoods," said Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's (CPPCC) National Committee, at the opening of its annual plenary session. The meeting will last until March 13.

The other important item on the agenda is the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) on economic and social development.

Jia urged the 2,154 CPPCC members at the meeting to reflect the desires and needs of people at the grass roots and help them solve their problems.

"CPPCC members should contribute to building harmony among the different social strata and interest groups," he said.

Jia's remark came as the country focuses on solving problems that affect people's immediate interests and their everyday lives, which used to play a subordinate role to such issues as economic growth goals in the past.

They include poverty alleviation in the countryside, reforms of public health care and education systems and workplace safety, among others.

These issues are already in the minds of CPPCC members. Almost all who talked to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting mentioned these topics.

"It is high time to focus on the development of rural areas," said Li Shantong, a CPPCC member who is also a veteran researcher at the State Council Development Research Centre. "Otherwise, our plan of building a well-off society will never become reality."

Ding Yu, another member representing the Jiu San Society, a minority party, said she would tender a proposal on the reform of the health-care system.

Ingrained problems in the sector include strained resources and high medical bills. "These problems may not be solved in a few years," said Ding, an engineer from Fujian Province. "But we must start to tackle them and move in the right direction."

Issues that relate to people's well-being are also expected to dominate the annual session of the National People's Congress, which starts from Sunday and ends on March 15.

China will officially begin implementing its 11th Five-Year Plan after the NPC approves it.

The plan will outline the country's goal, strategy and approach in pursuing economic and social development starting from this year to 2010.

On Friday, Jia called on CPPCC members to make it their top priority in providing advice for the implementation of the Five-Year Plan. Key topics include building an innovation-oriented country, building a resource-efficient, environmentally friendly society, and reforming the fiscal system, he said.

Jia said that the CPPCC's working mechanism would be improved to better promote unity and democracy.

Specifically, he said, the CPPCC would help its members from non-Communist parties to play a bigger role in the political consultation process.

Representatives from China's eight non-Communist parties form an important part of the CPPCC.

The CPPCC is cross-section of society, composed of members of the Communist Party of China, the eight non-Communist parties, non-governmental organizations, public figures without party affiliations, representatives of local communities and ethnic minorities. It also has representatives from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

Known as the government's "think tank," the CPPCC comprises committees that contain public figures from various walks of life.

Making proposals is the most direct way for CPPCC members to participate in State affairs and the drafting of national policies.

NPC, CPPCC agendas for March 4

Saturday's major agendas for the fourth sessions of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) and of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are as follows:


-- Preparatory meeting to be held for the Fourth Session of the Tenth NPC

-- Presidium of the Fourth Session of the Tenth NPC to hold its first meeting

-- Spokesman for the Fourth Session of the Tenth NPC to hold first press conference


-- Top Chinese leaders to join members of the 10th CPPCC National Committee in panel discussions

-- CPPCC members to hold panel discussions about the report on the work of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee and the report on the handling of the members' proposals and suggestions over the past year

(China Daily 03/04/2006 page1)

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