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Questions about ‘private’ life important

Updated: 2014-03-07 14:28
By Zhang Zhouxiang (

“Do you have an air purifier at home?” When asked that question at the ongoing session of the National People’s Congress, the minister of environmental protection smiled. By asking such questions, reporters do not intend to probe the private life of senior officials, but hope they can share the feelings of ordinary people in policy-making, says an editorial in Beijing News. Excerpts:

The question the minister of environmental protection was asked is increasingly common. The minister of agriculture was asked whether he eats transgenic food, while the director of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration met the question of whether he smokes. Such questions also enjoy high popularity with readers online.

Do not misunderstand the reporters or the public as merely gossiping. Closer observation will show that the questions asked of the senior officials all relate to their duties, such as air pollution control or tobacco control. The reporters and the public hope to know the senior officials’ feelings about the problems we ordinary people experience, so they can better consider the people’s interests in making policies. Just like an old Chinese saying goes: “He who does not plough never knows how hard a farmer works.”

The senior officials gave proper responses, also, by sharing their true feelings with reporters and speaking in the way ordinary people do. That’s a good start of interaction between policy-makers and the ordinary people and we expect the officials to make policies favorable to the most people.