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Reduced traffic controls for 'two sessions'

Updated: 2013-03-02 19:15

BEIJING - To keep the upcoming "two sessions" frugal and minimize disturbance for local residents, Beijing police have canceled the traditional practice of escorting session deputies and members with police cars, a senior Beijing traffic control official has said.

With no police outriders and fewer traffic controls, traffic police will ensure a clear path by optimizing traffic routes for the deputies of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said Li Shaoming, deputy director and spokesperson of the Beijing Public Security Traffic Management Bureau, on Friday.

The first sessions of the 12th NPC and CPPCC National Committee will open on March 5 and 3, respectively. The 2,987 lawmakers and 2,237 political advisors are staying in hotels in downtown Beijing and will convene at the Great Hall of the People to the west of Tiananmen Square.

The period when the annual session of the NPC, or China's parliament, and the meeting of the CPPCC National Committee, or the top political advisory body, are being held was usually a time of heightened traffic controls in Beijing, aggravating Beijing's traffic woes.

This year, said Li, measures will be in place to divert the traffic flow around the Great Hall of the People two hours before the meetings convened and 10 minutes before they closed. Police will divert traffic more efficiently, and forecast traffic flow information in advance through the media, the Internet and outdoor information screens.

The reduced controls have caused a little inconvenience to session attendees. Wang Donglin, a member of the 12th CPPCC National Committee from east China's Jiangxi province, said attendees' coaches were locked in traffic for a short period on the road from the airport to his hotel in eastern Beijing.

Wang flew to Beijing on Friday morning, and boarded coaches with other CPPCC members from Jiangxi and neighboring Hunan province.

"Though we were not greeted with fresh flowers at the airport or escorted by police cars along the road, I still felt good. It was like making a day-to-day trip to attend an ordinary meeting," said Wang, director of the culture research institute of Jiangxi Normal University.

"I chatted with some fellow CPPCC members on the coach. We thought we should keep up with the practice. I am even wondering if we could stage some meetings at night to reduce traffic pressures in Beijing," he added.

Avoiding extravagance has become a distinguishing feature for the two sessions this year, following Chinese leader Xi Jinping's recent call to promote the fine tradition of "being diligent and thrifty" and the idea of "honor to frugality and shame to extravagance".

The NPC Standing Committee and CPPCC National Committee have vowed to reduce expenditure this year. There will be none of the flowers traditionally placed in deputies' and members' hotel rooms, no welcoming ceremonies at the airport and railway stations, and no banquets or galas during the first sessions of the 12th NPC and the 12th CPPCC National Committee.


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