A closer look at China´s top advisory body 03-03-2004 15:02

The CPPCC is the main part of China's political consultation and democratic supervision system, and draws its members from all walks of life. Since its establishment more than half a century ago, it has played an important role in Chinese politics.

These buildings situated in a small street in western Beijing might be a lesser-known emblem of Chinese politics than the Great Hall of the People, yet they are the seat of one of China's key political institutions -- the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. These large hallways, meeting rooms and offices are where members of the nation's top government advisory body discuss issues that have a vital bearing on the nation's politics, economy and livelihood.

The CPPCC was established on the eve of the birth of the People's Republic of China. Its first plenary session was held in September 1949. During its early days, the CPPCC functioned as the nation's top legislature.

With the establishment of the National People's Congress in 1954, the main function of the CPPCC shifted into political consultation, democratic supervision and participation in various state affairs.

Known as the government's "think tank", CPPCC members are activists and public figures from various walks of life, as well as experts and scholars in various fields. With members from eight non-Communist parties and people with no political affiliation, the CPPCC plays an important democratic role in Chinese politics. In recent years, representation of newly emerging social sectors, such as private entrepreneurs and professionals, has also been on the rise.

According to CPPCC Standing Committee Spokesman Zhang Guoxiang, "CPPCC members are from 34 different sectors. Unlike the NPC delegates, CPPCC members are not elected. They are recommended by the sectors they belong to."

Every March, they gather in Beijing for a national conference which coincides with the annual session of the National People's Congress. Delegates attend the NPC's plenary sessions as non-voting deputies, discuss the government work report and submit motions to lawmakers.

Li Rong, Deputy Director of CPPCC Committee for Proposals, said, "In recent years, the number of proposals has increased, as the members are very enthusiastic in exercising their role of political consultation and democratic supervision. The quality of the proposals has also improved greatly. Most of them are the result of extensive investigation and research."

Over 3000 motions are submitted every year. In last year's annual session,over 80% of the motions were taken into consideration by different government departments. As the advisory body's role in state affairs increases, their opinions are having a greater impact on government decision making.


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