Diplomats assess first year of new leadership 03-05-2004 17:36

The annual session of the NPC has caught both nationwide and worldwide attention. More than 400 international reporters are covering the meeting. And diplomats from around the world have also come to the Great Hall of the People to witness the opening session and listen to the government work report. CCTV international interviewed some of them to hear how they assess the government's performance this past year.

On this important day when China's top legislative body reviews the government's performance over the past year, while looking to the future, a special group of guests was invited to witness the event. As senior diplomats in China as well as outside observers of the changes taking place in China, this community offered their assessment of the government's performance.

Mexican Ambassador to China Sergio Leylopez said: "I think this is a very subtle change from the past and there's down-to-earth involvement in the people's matters. That is very impressive. This is for the good of the Chinese people."

Some spoke of the immediate problems they believe the government needs to address.

Belgian Ambassador to China Gaston Van Duyse Adam said: " I try to tackle structural problems. There are differences that might exist in China between the coastal and inland, the west and the east."

Nihal Rodrigo, Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, told CCTV: "I see also things like for example the gap between rural areas and city areas. Perhaps that needs to be shortened. I think the constitution will make some proposals to meet the gap between rural and the urban. I think it takes time before these things can be worked out."

The diplomats joined the nearly 3,000 legislators from around the country in the Great Hall of the People throughout the morning to listen to Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report. Some said they wanted to hear which problems the government aims to address.

Macleod Nyirongo, Senior Deputy Resident Representative, said: "It's good and balanced. He talked the right issues, which are very impressive that the determination to reduce disparities and to address issues of farmers and I think these are worth (pressing) for."

Others said they were informed by the report on how the government gets prepared to tackle problems.

Romanian Ambassador to China Viorel Isticioaia-Budura said: "It seems there's a good idea about the way which the government can improve its work, the way which many central departments can confront and deal with challenges in social and economic development, by expanding investment, target at improving the lives of the farmers, raising the standards of education, going ahead with the commitments taken under WTO and going ahead with the policy of reform and opening up."

For most observers, the new administration may have performed well, but many problems still need to be addressed. Time and patience, they say, are needed if the government's ability and efficiency is to be judged.

Since many of the diplomats have witnessed China's changes over the past few years, they are in a prime position to give an outsider's assessment of the country's performance. Regardless of whether or not their words are positive, they can, at least, offer opinions for both the government and the public to think about.


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