Chinese whole-process people’s democracy fully demonstrated by two sessions
Well-orchestrated system makes people’s lives better, country stronger
Published: Mar 03, 2024 09:21 PM
Journalists attend a press conference for the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2024. Photo: VCG

Journalists attend a press conference for the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2024. Photo: VCG

Thousands of Chinese lawmakers and policy advisors are gathering in Beijing for the annual two sessions. The event not only offers an important opportunity for the world to understand China's whole-process people's democracy, but also a window to observe the country's development and understand its policy direction for the following year, experts pointed out.

The second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will open on March 5 and 4, respectively.

Chinese experts said that Chinese-style democracy is a well-orchestrated system combining elections, consultations, decision-making and oversight, constituting a high quality system that provides effective channels for collecting broad public opinion and offers timely solutions in order to make people's lives better and the country stronger. 

The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, China's top political advisory body, held a press conference on Sunday, one day ahead of its annual session.

Liu Jieyi, spokesperson for the second session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee, briefed the press on the session. 

Liu said that the People's Political Consultative Conference is an important form of promoting socialist democracy and practicing whole-process people's democracy in China's political life. It is an important channel for socialist consultative democracy and a specialized consultative body, he added.

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NPC and 75th anniversary of the founding of the CPPCC.

The NPC and CPPCC are an important platform for showcasing whole-process people's democracy, reflecting how much top Chinese lawmakers and policy advisors care about people's livelihoods by making efforts to turn people's expectations into reality, Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, who is also a national political advisor, told the Global Times. 

Whole-process people's democracy is not just a narrowly-defined form of democracy with periodic voting rights, but a combination of electoral and consultative democracy that includes elections, consultations, decision-making and oversight, covering economic, political, cultural, social and ecological sectors, he noted. 

People first

Zhang said that this year is special as it is the first year that the two sessions are returning to their normal format in four years. "Opinions from various sectors, social groups, and different segments of society were all concentrated at the meeting, reflecting a common consensus to help China's economy develop more smoothly and society to progress rapidly, especially in the post-pandemic recovery phase," said Zhang.

Xu Ruixia, a national political advisor from North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, who is also a member of the region's women's federation, told the Global Times that over the past year, she has been conducting an investigation into child care facilities in nursery schools and kindergartens. Her findings show that employees in these facilities are struggling with low salaries, parents are facing challenges in securing a spot for their children, and the facilities themselves are grappling with funding shortages.

As a result, Xu documented her research findings and crafted a series of recommendations, which she submitted to the relevant authorities in a bid to advocate for solutions to the pressing issues at hand.

Liu said at the Sunday conference that many political advisors conduct their surveys directly in communities and villages, going straight to residents' homes to listen to the truth and verify the situation. Some advisors continue to focus on the same theme for a longer period, and revisit it every year.

According to a survey conducted by Chinese media from February 5 to 25 involving 6.15 million participants, topics such as rule of law, employment, medical care and high-quality development are among the top 10 buzz words netizens are most concerned about.

All the suggestions and proposals given to the State Council during last year's two sessions have been handled, Xing Huina, a spokesperson for the Information Office of the State Council, said on Thursday.

Xing said that in 2023, various departments of the State Council handled a total of 7,955 suggestions from NPC deputies and 4,525 proposals from members of the CPPCC during the two sessions, accounting for 95.7 percent and 96.5 percent of the total number of suggestions and proposals, respectively. All of them have been completed on schedule.

Solving real problems

At the CPPCC's press conference on Sunday, journalists from various countries gathered at the venue to get a peek into the policies and signals unveiled at China's two sessions.

A reporter from Saudi Arabia told the Global Times that he is focusing on covering China's technological innovation and green energy during the two sessions, so that more Arab countries can learn from China's development experience. 

Zhang Yiwu said that the annual two sessions are not only platforms for deputies to raise suggestions and help solve the current problems facing the country, they also offer a window for foreign observers to get a glimpse of the country's future development plan, as well as how democracy is practiced in China. 

Real democracy must achieve good governance and promote the country's development, Zhang Shuhua, director of the institute of political sciences at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. 

Deputies play an important role for people's democracy to be practiced throughout the whole process. By performing their duties, deputies promptly report the most direct and real problems of the public to the CPC committees and governmental departments, and give positive guidance and explanations for the problems that are temporarily difficult to solve while putting forward proposals and suggestions, Zhang Shuhua said. 

In certain countries that claim to be liberal democracies, the democratic process is sporadic and temporary, with citizens only able to vote without consistent avenues for voicing their concerns, said Zhang Shuhua. 

The expert emphasized that while democracy is a universal value, each country must find its own way to achieve it, and it is important to get rid of the notion that Western-style democracy is the only model to follow.