Top advisory body meets in Beijing

(Xinhua/China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-03 14:58

The Fifth Session of the 10 National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference starts in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2007. [Xinhua].

The Tenth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China' s top advisory body, convened its fifth annual full session in Beijing Saturday, calling for its members' utmost effort for the preparation for the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

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"The year of 2007 is of great importance for the causes of our Party and the whole country as the 17th CPC National Congress is scheduled to convene in the second half of this year, which is not only a big event for the Party itself, but also for the political life of all the people," said Jia Qinglin, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, in a keynote report on the work of the advisory body in the past year and its work scheme in 2007.

Jia urged CPPCC members to "welcome the successful convening of the CPC National Congress by earnestly performing our duty in political consultation, democratic supervision and participation in and discussion of state affairs with a great sense of political responsibility."

Jia said that CPPCC members should be prepared to learn and implement the spirit of the CPC congress and make contribution to accomplish the goals raised at the congress.

He also encouraged the advisors to make more proposals on the country's economic development.

Top CPC and state leaders Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan were seated on the central rostrum when the session opened in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing at 3 p.m. (Beijing time).

Of all the 2,267 registered CPPCC National Committee members for the annual meeting, 2,144 were present at the opening session.

Huang Mengfu, CPPCC National Committee vice chairman, reported to the advisors at the opening meeting on how their proposals and suggestions had been handled since the advisory body's last session in March 2006.

The top political consultants will also be present at the annual session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China 's top legislature, slated to kick off on March 5, hearing and discussing the report on the government work by Premier Wen Jiabao, reports on the work of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the drafts of the property right law and the corporate income tax law.

Three plenary meetings that focus on economy, social and cultural development, and political construction will be held during the session, which is scheduled to conclude on March 15.

Founded in 1949, the CPPCC consists of elite members of the Chinese society who are willing to serve as the think tank for the government and for the country's legislative and judicial organs.

As an open forum where the ruling Communist Party, the non-Communist parties of China and people with no party affiliations discuss state affairs freely and on an equal footing, the CPPCC National Committee has been the manifestation of China's socialist democracy.

NPC, CPPCC sessions extended by two more days

China will see two of its most important political bodies extend their annual sessions this year to discuss issues about general welfare and the nation's draft law on property rights.

Both the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a national political advisory body, have released the agendas for their 2007 annual sessions. Both will hold two more days of meetings than they did last year.

According to the agenda, this year's NPC session will begin on Monday and last for 12 days. Apart from regular items such as the review of the central government's work report, budget and State development report, and the reports by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, NPC deputies this year will also discuss the draft property rights law and corporate income tax law, and vote on them.

The CPPCC National Committee full session, which starts on Saturday and ends on March 15, will also discuss the two draft laws.

Except for these special agendas, it is expected that NPC deputies and CPPCC members will deliver more proposals and have longer discussions, because this year's meetings are the last sessions of the 10th NPC and 10th CPPCC.

In another development, according to CPPCC spokesman Wu Jianmin at a press conference on Friday, the country's political advisers have been devoting much of their time investigating and writing policy proposals on issues on the people's livelihood last year.

"It has always been an important responsibility of the CPPCC to collect and reflect real social conditions and public voices, as its members come from all walks of life," Wu said.

For example, the number of proposals related to health and education alone reached more than 900, accounting for one-fifth of the total number of proposals submitted in the past year, Wu said.

In response to the proposals calling for solving the housing problems for low-income households, the Ministry of Construction has announced it would establish a low-rent system in all cities and counties of the country by the end of this year to ensure the housing of the poor.

Another issue that has caught the attention of CPPCC members is the establishment of a social security system that will cover the country's vast rural population.

"The CPPCC members have concluded that the time is ripe to establish the basic living allowance system for the 23.7 million poor population in the countryside," Wu said.

The system can be established if finance departments spend 6 billion yuan ($750 million) each year, Wu said.

The State Council and related departments have adopted the proposal, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs has decided to promote the system across the country after the success of some pilot projects.

Another example of the role of the CPPCC is that after taking suggestions by CPPCC members, the National Development and Reform Commission decided that the ticket prices of railway and road transportation would remain the same as usual during this year's Spring Festival holiday.

Ticket prices used to be floated to a certain percentage before to cover costs because of the sudden increase in transportation capacity to carry the country's vast floating population home and back after the holidays.

"The cancellation of the price increase has reduced 300 million yuan ($37 million) in revenue, but it has benefited the majority, especially the rural migrant workers," Wu said.

Wu is a senior diplomat and served as spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1980s and Chinese Ambassador to Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and later France in the 1990s, before he became president of the China Foreign Affairs University and Vice-Director of the Committee of Foreign Affairs under the CPPCC in 2003.


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