Foreigners invited to hear provincial-level annual sessions

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 13, 2012
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With a government work report in hand, Philippe Rondard, a French biophysics professor, is among 35 foreigners invited to hear an ongoing political session in central China's Hubei province.

"Although some details are hard to understand, I've learned a bit about the development of Hubei over the past year," said Rondar dat the fifth session of the 11th Hubei Provincial People's Congress, which began on Thursday in the provincial capital of Wuhan.

Rondard is a faculty member at the Wuhan-based Huazhong University of Science and Technology and acts as the backbone of the school's biophysics research program.

Serge Lavroff, consul general of the French Consulate General in Wuhan, has been to the annual session twice. He said the government work report suggests the province has put more emphasis on developing social insurance, environmental protection and culture over the past year.

"Hubei is developing very fast, which has reinforced our confidence in terms of deepening France's cooperation with the Chinese province," he said.

An official with the Hubei Provincial Office of Overseas Chinese said the office has invited 35 foreigners to hear the political session, including foreign diplomats, business representatives and specialists living in Wuhan.

"It is the first time that foreign guests representing multiple countries and walks of life have been invited to the political session," the official said.

Stephano Smars, trade commissioner of the Consulate General of Belgium in Shanghai, attended the session for the first time. He said inviting foreign people to hear the meeting suggests that the local government is improving its transparency, which will "enhance mutual understanding and trust."

"I see the invitation as a gesture of opening-up," he said.

Scott C. Shaw, a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said he and his family live in Hubei and are concerned about the province's development.

Annual meetings of China's two top political organizations at the provincial level are held in January and February. They are considered preludes to the two annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which are typically held in March.

Foreigners have also been invited to annual sessions in other Chinese cities and provinces, including Shanghai and Zhejiang province.

Delegates in Hubei said inviting foreigners to hear the meeting is a "good example of political democracy."

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