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9th CPPCC opens its fifth annual session     
   MON, MAR 04, 2002    

The Ninth Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference or CPPCC opened its last annual session in its five year term. Over two thousand members from all social strata gathered in Beijing. During the ten and a half day session, they will offer suggestions and criticisms over state affairs.

They represent people from all walks of life. Every March, they walk up these steps to the Great Hall of the People. Here, they voice their concerns and put forward proposals to the government about the country's social and economic development.

Altogether, 2,267 members will attend this session. CPPCC, though not a decision-making body, serves as the country's top advisory body to the central government.

At the opening session, CPPCC Chairman Li Ruihuan opened the conference, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, NPC Chairman Li Peng and Premier Zhu Rongji were all present at this meeting. Vice-Chairman Ye Xuanping delivered a work report for the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee.

The report noted that the CPPCC had worked to promote the "three represents", offered constructive suggestions for the Tenth Five-Year Plan, and worked to strengthen ties with foreign countries.

Ye Xuanping, Vice-Chairman of CPPCC Standing Committee said: "In the past year, the CPPCC fully exercised its role as an advisory body for the country, and carried out the tasks set during the Fourth Session of the Ninth CPPCC. "

The report also outlined tasks for this year, they include co-operating with all parties, organizations, ethnic and social groups to safeguard unity; working towards the peaceful reunification of China, and promoting exchanges on diplomatic fronts.

Ye Xuanping, Vice-Chairman of CPPCC Standing Committee said: "2002 will be a historical year for China. The 16th National Congress of the CPC will be convened in the latter half of the year. China will face new chances, as well as new challenges, after its WTO accession. And the country will further participate and compete with foreign countries in the economic sector."

Each year, CPPCC members meet under ever changing international and domestic circumstances. China is now facing special challenges that have global impact -- its WTO membership and the world economic slowdown. The country's top advisory body is more vital than ever -- as it helps the central government deal with these important issues. MEI YAN, CCTV

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