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Legislators reach out at local level

By Cao Yin | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-12 09:27

With the help of local legislators, more than 30 residents in Licheng district of Jinan, capital of Shandong province, received professional psychological counseling last month.

After learning that some people in the district felt stressed at work or at life in general, and wanting to help resolve those anxieties, deputies to the district people's congress contacted a psychologist and arranged for consultations.

The community-level approach to addressing people's needs has been assisted by the establishment of a station for local people's congress deputies to better communicate with local people to solve their problems.

"The establishment of the station in March provided us a fixed place to exchange our work experiences and offer residents more opportunities to express their demands to us," said Cui Chuanshun, a deputy to Licheng district people's congress and head of the station in Shanda Road subdistrict.

After the establishment of the station, which is located in a technological innovation park, the deputies took turns to be on duty, where they could listen to locals' demands and help solve their problems, Cui said.

Meetings are held every three months to discuss current social issues and to draw up work plans.

"Several deputies engaged in the healthcare industry helped contact doctors so they could offer free basic physical checks in communities after they learned some elderly residents had travel difficulties to hospitals. They learned this during one of the meetings," he added.

Duan Zhihua, another deputy in the district, said that she visits the station twice or even three times a week. While there, some young people engaged in sales told her that it was very difficult for them to find new customers and expressed their willingness to start their own businesses.

"I work for the innovation park, but I didn't know what I could do for people until I talked with those youngsters," she said, adding that she later shared some of her contacts with the young people she had talked to at the station.

She compared herself to a bridge between potential startup businesses and established business resources, noting that the station had played a key role in narrowing the distance between deputies and residents.

"Deputies to the people's congresses at each level are from the people and elected by the people, so we represent the people, serve the people and should be responsible for the people," Cui said.

He said he had also learned a lot from talking with residents at the station, adding that "their diversified opinions and suggestions help us to implement whole-process people's democracy".

According to statistics from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, some 220,000 such stations have been set up in communities around the country, including those in residential compounds and subdistricts, in a bid to provide more convenience for people to reach out to legislators to help them with difficulties and motivate deputies to perform their duties to the best of their ability.

Besides collecting people's opinions at the stations regularly, legislators in some areas are also asked to make phone calls to residents or visit their homes if necessary and give feedback after difficulties have been resolved.

For instance, deputies to the people's congress in Hezhuangping township of Yan'an, Shaanxi province, helped set up three small weather stations in 2020 after learning that local farmers needed such facilities to monitor air humidity, precipitation and soil quality in order to prevent their crops from spoiling, Xinhua News Agency reported.

To help people express their problems at any place and any time, the Standing Committee of the People's Congress in Jinan's Lixia district launched an online platform to efficiently connect residents with lawmakers.

Instead of visiting deputy stations in person, residents in Lixia can contact legislators by scanning a code on the legislature's WeChat account. Deputies, at the same time, can also use the platform to share their ideas on regional economic and social development.

The district's legislature said that it has solicited more than 150 suggestions from the public via the platform, which has contributed to solving problems such as the need for renovations in old communities and for home-based care for the elderly.

Cui from Jinan's Licheng district added that they are also considering launching a similar online platform to further improve communication among deputies and residents.

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