For more celebrity CPPCC members, CCTV News correspondent Fei Ye sat down with former basketball player Yao Ming, a first time CPPCC member discussing Chinese politics and public diplomacy.
FEI YE: Yao Ming thank you for your time. You were a professional basketball player, a businessman, and a philanthropist and now a CPPCC member. What does this title mean to you? And what is the responsibility for this role?
YAO MING: The CPPCC can provide a platform for the ruling party to hear the different voices of the people and to solve their problems. Our responsibility is that we have to voice the truth. We should have our own opinions. It is important to have an independent thinking toward everything. Communicating with others who work in the same field or different fields is also important. With this, we can see things in an objective way. Working this way can provide us with different kinds of answers.
FEI YE: This is your first year participating in China’s politics, what are your expectations?
YAO MING: I’m hoping I can learn the rules here, every organization or conference has their existing rules; like how to communicate with each other effectively or how to utilize your resources. I would like to adapt to the environment first, understanding every bit of it and then make my contributions to the society.
FEI YE: As a Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association, how are you planning to push the work in this area?
YAO MING: The way public diplomacy works, is just like visiting your neighbors, your relatives or your friends. The atmosphere is very relaxed, but through this process you get to know each other’s families, personalities and thoughts in a very natural and fluid way. If a problem arises in the future, this base that you have established with each other will help you in better communicating and understanding the situation and that’s public diplomacy.
FEI YE: CPPCC is the country's top Advisory body that has people from different professions and famous people. How does fame play into this role?
YAO MING: In America, participations and discussions of politics are very common. And there are professional politicians. However in China, politics has been very closed for a long time, but now slowly it’s becoming more open. At this stage, there are a lot of celebrities involved in politics...because the participation of celebrities has attracted people who were not interested in politics before, increasing public interest. When the public pays more attention to politics, it helps in maturing our political system. Of course I agree with that not every celebrity is a good politician. But you can’t deny all of their contributions. We are still growing. If celebrities don’t get involved, it might be the same closed political system as in the past, which I’m sure nobody would like to see.
FEI YE: How do you see yourself playing a role in the future of China’s policy and current issues?
YAO MING: I would like to observe more things and visit more places around the country. To get to know and learn about other industries that I’m not familiar with and see if there’s anything can be changed or improved in those areas.