Lawmakers, political advisors get vaccinated ahead of two sessions, confident in epidemic control
Published: Feb 21, 2021 09:28 PM

Visitors pose for a selfie with Chinese national flags in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The hall is where China's "two sessions" are convened each year. Photo: IC

Deputies to China's National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are preparing to come to Beijing to attend China's most important annual political events, as the two sessions period begins next week. 

As a window to observe China's development and an embodiment of Chinese democracy, the two sessions cover the country's essential economic and social development plans, drawing worldwide attention. This year's meetings have grabbed special attention as 2021 marks the beginning of the country's new 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period and the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China. 

The eyes of the world will be on how China will realize its economic goals and build its new development paradigm, and what kind of reforms are expected. 

NPC deputies and CPPCC members from across the nation including South China's Guangdong Province, Central China's Hubei Province, and Northwest China's Gansu Province reached by the Global Times on Sunday said they have received notices from local organizing committees on getting COVID-19 vaccines, but it is not compulsory. 

"I'm about to get the second dose this week. It is voluntary and I have met other deputies while waiting for the vaccination," Zhu Lieyu, an NPC deputy who is a lawyer from the Guoding Law Firm in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, told the Global Times. 

According to Zhu, all deputies and members are required to get a nucleic acid test before coming to Beijing. Whether they will undergo a second test in Beijing is unknown.  

Most deputies and members from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have already received COVID-19 vaccines, getting well prepared for their upcoming trips to Beijing, according to two NPC deputies from the city reached by the Global Times on Sunday.  

"We took the first jab before the Spring Festival and the second in Shenzhen on Thursday, and we are scheduled to depart around March 1," Chan Yung, an NPC deputy who is a vice chairman of the pro-establishment group Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (formerly known as Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong), told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The whole process, akin to last year's meetings, will follow the sealed-off management system, while the delegations will receive detailed arrangements about epidemic prevention and control measures after arriving in Beijing, Chan said. 

"Compared with last year, we're much more confident [in epidemic control], especially when Chinese-made vaccines have become the safest ones in the world, and the most welcomed ones in Asia," he added. 

To hold this year's two sessions on time also shows that the COVID-19 epidemic has been completely brought under control, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's delegate to the Standing Committee of the NPC, told the Global Times on Sunday. "I've already taken two jabs of Sinopharm's vaccines in Shenzhen, like most of the delegates."

A source close to the matter told the Global Times that the deputies and members will arrive in Beijing on March 3 and the meeting is also expected to be shortened to seven days, as it was last year. 

Reporters who attend the meetings will be required to take nucleic acid tests, and some of them who attend the special meeting of ministerial officials may be asked to get vaccinated, the source said.