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CPPCC session opens with call for democratic oversight and research

Su Zhou and Sun Xiaochen
Updated: Mar 4,2017 7:08 AM     China Daily

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, speaks during the opening of the CPPCC plenary session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 4.[Photo/Xinhua]

China’s political advisers were told to strengthen democratic oversight and conduct thorough research at the grassroots level to offer more valuable suggestions this year, a top official said on March 3.

Members of the CPPCC’s National Committee attend the opening ceremony on March 4.[Photo by Zou Hong / China Daily]

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, set the requirements while giving a work report to more than 2,200 national political advisers.

The CPPCC National Committee began its annual plenary session on March 3 in Beijing, ushering in a political high season that will continue with the opening of the country’s top legislature on March 5.

Top Communist Party of China and State leaders Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli also attended the opening meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

Yu said CPPCC democratic oversight is a type of consultative oversight exercised under the leadership of the CPC and on the basis of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the CPPCC, it is participated in by political parties, people’s organizations and people of all ethnic groups and sectors of society through a variety of activities organized by CPPCC committees. It is carried out through comments, criticism and proposals in accordance with the CPPCC’s Charter.

“The CPPCC is not a body of State power. Its oversight work does not rely on mandatory or binding force but on political influence,” Yu said. “Its purpose is to help the Communist Party of China and the government to resolve problems, improve their work, build solidarity and gather support.”

Yu said political advisers need to take a problem-oriented approach, focus on major problems and the issues at their core, and accurately identify any difficulties or weak links. This requires improvement of the CPPCC committee members’ capabilities in research and studies.

“When offering suggestions, empty and general comments with no research to support them must be avoided. Speeches and criticism should get straight to the point,” Yu said. “Arrangements for CPPCC democratic oversight work should be submitted to Party committees and incorporated into the overall plan, and key topics should be included in the annual consultation plans and reported to Party committees for approval.”

Pan Qinglin, a national political adviser and standing committee member of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, said he visits lower-level organizations and develops an understanding of the actual situation before drafting and submitting his proposals each year. “Oversight is very important, but it has to be based on research, study and responsibility,” he said.

Ling Feng, another national political adviser and a neurosurgeon at Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing, said he used to misunderstand the influence of democratic oversight.

In 2014, Ling proposed, along with 89 other CPPCC National Committee members, to combat violence at hospitals and against doctors. Parts of the proposal were adopted into law in August 2015.

“I truly felt the power behind one proposal, as well as the attention and importance attached to it by government agencies,” he added.

CPPCC National Committee members submitted 5,769 proposals over the past year, covering such issues as the economy, politics, culture, society and the ecosystem, according to the CPPCC.

Ma Peihua, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, said more proposals from members of the CPPCC National Committee that exercise democratic oversight will be listed as priorities this year.

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