By and large, the annual sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC), popularly known as two sessions, are too predictable to excite the masses.
Year after year, the largest gatherings of local politicians and social elite have followed similar procedures, treaded acquainted political terrains, and endorsed familiar government proposals.
But we do see something different this year. The CPPCC has condensed the schedule of its annual session, which opens today, to nine days. The shortest in the past six years was nine and a half. CPPCC members are accommodated at nearby hotels to shorten commuting distance. Organizers have even decided to hand out fewer printed documents. These are nothing to brag about. But they do give the impression that the grim economic picture has indeed been taken into consideration. We hope all participants will appreciate such considerateness, take it home, and apply it to their daily work.
Few people really care that much about the two sessions being a little longer, their participants eating better, or staying at better hotels. As long as they do well what they are supposed to do. So the cost and efficiency consciousness needs to be taken one more step forward, so that all those present at the two sessions make full use of their time in Beijing and contribute something of real value.
This is particularly important this year. Everybody knows where we are - in the midst of the most unsettling global crisis New China has ever seen. The two sessions are precious platforms of communication, where true pictures of grassroots realities and concerns of different levels of decision-makers converge.
During his online dialogue with ordinary citizens on Saturday, Premier Wen Jiabao expressed personal belief that the public is entitled to know what the government thinks and does, the latter needs inputs from the former for informed decisions.
We share that belief. We do not expect each and every CPPCC member and NPC delegate to contribute outstanding solutions to our problems. But at the very least, they should bring true stories from home.
And in order for the two sessions to live up to public expectations, we need to hear more authentic accounts of local conditions, and meaningful discussions of real problems, and less hollow praises and vows of allegiance.