Exclusive for the Daily Outlook
If you bumped into someone on your way in the street of China currently, and inquired what catches his/her eyes the most, the answers would almost be the same-- "Liang Hui" (literally "the two sessions"). But why? Because the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC), which started its fifth session from 3rd and 5th of March respectively, provide crucial platforms for the Chinese people to participate in and deliberate on state affairs, and present some insight of China's development trend.
What is "Liang Hui"?
"Liang Hui" is the abbreviation of the plenary sessions of CPPCC and NPC in Chinese. The two sessions are held successively in March every year, and each term of CPPCC and NPC lasts for 5 years. Deputies of the sessions come from all parts of the country and embody comprehensively social representativeness, covering various nationalities and all walks of life. Among them, deputies of NPC are elected from the grass roots after rounds of democratic votes.
They are elected for a term of five years, and undertake sacred missions of collecting people's views, solving people's problems and promoting people's livelihoods. During the two sessions, deputies propose their motions basing on people's suggestions, criticism, demands and aspirations. After examined and accredited by the review board of CPPCC or NPC respectively, these motions will be submitted to the relevant government sectors, which are assigned to handle the motions practically and then give concrete feedback in written form. Moreover, deputies of the two sessions are entrusted to consult crucial issues such as fundamental state policies and people's livelihoods. The following valuable suggestions will be incarnated in laws and policies of China.
Focuses of the two sessions in 2012
During the two sessions of each year, one of the major tasks for the deputies is to hear and review the "Report on the Work of the Government", deliberate and adopt the important decisions and plans for the next year. Of course, it is no exception this time. On 5th March 2012, Premier Wen Jiabao delivered his Report on behalf of the Government. He reviewed the work in 2011 and put forward major tasks and plans in 2012. He said, China made significant achievements in reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization in 2011.
China's GDP reached 47.2 trillion RMB (about 7.5 trillion USD), an increase of 9.2% over the previous year; government revenue was 10.37 trillion RMB, an increase of 24.8%; and the country's grain yield reached a recorded high of 570 million tons. A total of 12.21 million new urban jobs were created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents and the per capita net income of rural residents rose in real terms by 8.4% and 11.4% respectively. China got the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period off to a good start.
While mentioning the achievements, Premier Wen also indicated some existing problems and unbalances, and proposed a series of pragmatic measures for improvement. He underlined that the Chinese Government will strengthen and improve macro-control; strive to achieve steady and robust economic development and overall price stability; maintain social harmony and stability; accelerate the transformation of economic development pattern and adjustment of economic structure to enhance development stamina; expand domestic demand, particularly the consumer demand; make every effort to strengthen innovation, energy conservation, and emissions reduction; strive to deepen reform and opening-up to further promote China's modernization; improve the people's wellbeing and ensure that both urban and rural residents' incomes increase in line with economic growth so that all the people will further share the fruits of reform and development.
Foreign governments and their people may attach more importance on China's foreign policies, which Premier Wen also outlined in his report. As he mentioned, China's diplomacy should make greater contributions to global economic growth and international peace and stability.
We will continue to deepen friendly relationship with neighbors, actively participate in regional cooperation mechanisms, and work together for a sound regional environment of peace, stability, equality, mutual trust, cooperation, and mutual benefit. China will enhance unity and cooperation with other developing countries, deepen traditional friendships, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, and uphold the legitimate rights and interests as well as the common interests of developing countries.
Attending the press conference of the NPC, Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Foreign Minister also pointed out China will remain committed to the independent foreign policy of peace, the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening-up. China will continue to work with other countries to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity. China believes that all countries should embrace win-win cooperation. This means that while pursuing one's own interests, one also needs to take into account the interests of other countries; while enjoying one's rights, one should also fulfill its responsibilities.
Countries need to accommodate each other and work together to uphold justice and expand common interests. We believe that all countries should work together to make the international order more just and equitable and to usher in a better future for the world. He stressed that the priorities of the Chinese diplomacy in 2012 will be serving the domestic development, maintaining world peace and promoting international cooperation.
Regarding the relations with neighboring countries, H.E. Yang Jiechi said that China pursues a policy of building good-neighborly relationships and partnerships with countries in its neighborhood. China is committed to deepening the mutually beneficial cooperation with other Asian countries. Relations between China and other Asian countries are in good shape, and there are a lot of positive factors. Real figures speak louder than microphones. China has become the biggest trading partner of the majority of its neighbors.
Last year, trade between China and other Asian countries topped US$1 trillion. China's investment in the Asian region approached US$20 billion. Cooperation between China and other Asian countries in science and technology, finance, energy and infrastructure has been unprecedented in terms of both breadth and depth. It is true that there are some differences and disagreements between China and some of its neighboring countries over some issues. But China believes that these disputes should be peacefully handled and resolved through dialogue and consultation. At the same time, China hopes that the relevant parties will respect China's legitimate rights and interests, avoid making remarks or taking moves that may complicate the situation and work with China for stability, development and progress in the Asian region.
The two sessions and the Chinese people
Although the two sessions lasts for only about 10 days, they are of great importance to the interests of every Chinese people and the big event in their political life. Nowadays, the way of expressing concerns and voices to the two sessions by the Chinese people has changed dramatically, from broadcasting, newspapers and TVs to mobile phones, websites and micro-blogs. Not long before the two sessions this year, the mainstream media and website in China has launched a survey on the hottest topic of the two sessions to the Chinese people.
The result shows that the social security tops the list and is followed by income distribution, social management, equal access to education, healthcare reform, issues concerning agriculture, anti-corruption, price of commodities, food safety and housing price control. After reading the Report on the Work of the Government and hearing the statements made by deputies of the two sessions, it is easy to find that all the above-mentioned issues have been covered and responded conscientiously, which shows that the two sessions are increasingly people-oriented, livelihood-focused and attaching more importance to the people's dignity and wellbeing.