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NPC to focus on daily concerns, corruption
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-03 00:30

The opinions of ordinary people will be heard more clearly at the annual sessions of China's top legislature and political advisory body, according to political science experts.

With the public's huge concern over issues close to their daily lives, topics relating to people's livelihoods are expected to be highlighted by about 5,000 participants at the meetings.

And it is hoped that the deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's (CPPCC) National Committee will also focus more heavily on the anti-graft war and government reforms, according to the latest media surveys.

The second session of the 10th CPPCC National Committee and the 10th NPC open today and Friday, respectively, in Beijing.

The public is showing its greatest ever interest in what topics might be discussed at the two sessions, according to separate online surveys conducted by the Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily.

Hundreds of thousands of netizens took part in the polls, which sought topics of most concern to the public.

Raising farmers' incomes, cutting education fees, improving employment opportunities and the establishment of a sound social security network were common themes.

Other key topics include enhancing food and drug safety, reducing production accidents and protecting the legitimate interests of both urbanites and migrant farmers, as well as strengthening public security.

Xin Ming, a researcher with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, predicted that the two annual sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC's National Committee will give more attention to the welfare of ordinary people.

"An encouraging sign is that topics concerning the fundamental interests of the public dominated the discussions of almost all provincial people's congresses around the country in late February," he told China Daily.

The researcher said the move indicated a growing popularity of the scientific concept of people-centred development, which has been proposed by the new generation of Chinese leadership under President Hu Jintao.

The new concept features humanistic governance and the principle of focusing on the people, which means centring efforts on the interests of citizens in order to meet their various demands and achieve all-around development for all.

"Caring for the people is sure to propel lawmakers and political advisers to come up with more practical and concrete policies to address their concerns," Xin said.

As a signal of the positive change, the government work report to be delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao to the NPC will place an unprecedented emphasis on the well-being of citizens during the process of economic development, sources revealed.

Yu Jiancheng, a taxi driver in Beijing, expressed his hope for a down-to-earth work style among participants at the two annual sessions.

"We understand that the NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members need to discuss State affairs and other significant issues," he said.

"But it's equally important for them to base their discussions on how to promote the interests of the people."

Yu said he was most concerned about narrowing the widening gap between the rich and the poor, adding that urgent measures are needed to tackle the worsening problem.

Concern for people's livelihoods, however, does not prevent the Chinese public from being enthusiastic about political issues.

Among them, there is a strong call for the country to step up the battle against corruption, adjust government functions to economic changes and speed up judicial reforms.

The problem of corruption, which is believed to be the No 1 factor undermining social stability, remains the top concern among the public this year.

About 84 per cent of respondents to the Xinhua survey say anti-corruption efforts should be given top priority.

"All reforms will suffer if corruption is not eliminated," an anonymous respondent to the People's Daily online survey commented.

The deep worry comes despite firm determination from the CPC and the Chinese Government to curb corruption.

In 2003, a total of 13 ministerial and provincial-level officials were punished for graft and bribery. One of them was sentenced to death.

They included former Hebei Province Party Secretary Cheng Weigao, former Land and Resources Minister Tian Fengshan and former Anhui Vice-Governor Wang Huaizhong.

To more effectively fight against corruption, the public is pinning high hopes on NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members to help push ahead with government and judicial reforms to safeguard social and legal justice.

Professor Yang Haikun, vice-chairman of the Administrative Law Society of China, went further, saying the public aspiration for a "clean," truly streamlined and highly efficient government entails deepening reforms.

"More effort is needed to adapt the role of an administration-oriented government to a society calling for a service-oriented government, following the country's entry to the World Trade Organization,'' the professor said.

Apart from streamlining efforts, the ongoing reforms of government institution should focus more on improving government functions and administrative methods, Yang said.

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