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Netizens’ voices heard as suggestions added to annual work report

Wang Qingyun
Updated: Mar 30,2015 7:47 AM     China Daily

Sui Xujia never expected that her suggestion would be selected by the government, let alone that she would be invited to a conference in Beijing on March 26 that was attended by members of the team that drafted this year’s Government Work Report.

Sui, 26, works for a software company in Shandong province and joined an online campaign to offer suggestions and advice on the government’s work.

The campaign, launched on Jan 22 by gov.cn, the Chinese government website, and six other websites, invited the public to post online messages, discuss issues and offer suggestions that they believed should be included in the Government Work Report for 2015. The report was delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5.

Sui had posted a suggestion urging the government to dedicate more effort to protecting farmland and the rural environment. She believes the risk of trading farmland and a clean environment for economic growth threatens not only her rural hometown but also many other villages.

Sui was picked as a representative of netizens who joined the campaign, and she attended the conference in Beijing on March 26 for the team that drafted the report.

The campaign was the first time the government had turned to online public opinion for drafting its work report. By March 15, it had gathered about 79,000 messages, from which 1,426 were selected for the team to consider, according to statistics released at the conference on March 26.

Forty-six suggestions were added to the report, said a team member at the conference. Many of the other proposals had already been included in the draft of the report before netizens suggested them, the member said.

Sui said she believed this year’s work report answered her suggestion on farmland and environmental protection in rural areas by stating that the government will ensure that the country’s “arable land area does not fall below the red line” and will boost efforts to treat refuse and sewage in rural areas.

“A single call may go unanswered. But if more people voice their concerns over an issue, the government will pay attention and come up with measures to address it,” she said.

Liu Jianhua, a 53-year-old netizen invited to the conference, said the campaign was a milestone in the public’s use of the Internet to take part in government decision-making, and he called for more online interaction between the public and the government.

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