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Whole-process democracy drives two sessions

Source: China Daily Updated: 2023-03-15

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Liu Xiya, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, talks to students at a school in Chongqing last year about the double reduction policy, which tackles the excessive amount of homework and extracurricular tutoring many children have faced. [Huang Wei/Xinhua]

Annual gatherings provide forum for discussion and pooling of national legislators' and advisers' wisdom.

On a sunny spring day last month, villagers and officials in Chitang village, Taojiang county, Central China's Hunan province, gathered in a tidy courtyard. The topic of discussion was how to further expand the market for the village's main products — tea-seed oil and bamboo.

Gao Ya, secretary of the Communist Party of China branch in Chitang, listened carefully and noted the villagers' ideas. Earlier this month, she took their opinions to Beijing, about 1,300 km away, for the annual two sessions.

The recently concluded first sessions of the 14th National People's Congress and the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference offer a window into China's whole-process people's democracy, which involves a population of over 1.4 billion from 56 ethnic groups.

At the annual gatherings, over 5,000 national legislators and political advisers — ranging from farmers to State leaders — sit together in the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing to deliberate on bills or discuss affairs of State, pool their wisdom and bring the Chinese people together to forge ahead.

"Whole-process people's democracy is the defining feature of socialist democracy — it is democracy in its broadest, most genuine and most effective form," President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has said.

Grassroots voices heard

Gao, 33, was elected as an NPC deputy in January at the annual session of the Hunan Provincial People's Congress. Making her debut at the national legislature, she submitted suggestions on innovating the bamboo industry and improving the construction of forest roads.

"We will focus on developing our special industries to make the villagers more prosperous," she said.

Shen Changjian, an NPC deputy from Linli, a county in Hunan, cares more about agricultural modernization. "We need to develop smart agriculture and deepen innovation in the seed industry," the 55-year-old vegetable grower told Xinhua.

An amendment to the Legislation Law was reviewed at the NPC session. The draft amendment had already twice been deliberated by the NPC Standing Committee, opinions have been extensively solicited and it has been revised many times.

Sheng Hong, an NPC deputy and Party chief of a residential community in Shanghai's Hongqiao subdistrict, noted that some suggestions put forward by her community's residents had been included in the draft.

In November, at the legislative outreach office set up in Hongqiao by the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, 45 suggestions regarding the draft amendment to the Legislation Law were collected through seminars and solicitation of online opinion, and were then directly delivered to the commission, according to Sheng.

"The outreach office acts as a direct link between ordinary people and China's top legislature," Sheng said.

In China, the growing participation of ordinary people in national and local democratic decision-making is taking place in various forms.

The people's congress system — China's fundamental political system — guarantees that the people are the masters of the country, which is the essence of socialist democracy.

Of the 2.77 million new-term deputies to people's congresses at all levels, 2.62 million at the county and township levels were directly elected by the country's more than 1 billion voters.

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