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Congress Women Celebrate Women's Day

All over China, women are celebrating the 92nd International Women’s Day today, March 8, 2002. As for those women deputies and members who are in Beijing for the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), what are they doing for the holiday? Our reporter, Chen Yanyan, went to see.

"I feel very proud on Women’s Day no matter if I am attending a group discussion at a NPC session or participating in the social activities of women deputies," said Shen Jilan, a deputy from Shanxi Province. "The status of women is improving all the time. We participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs and are playing increasing important roles in political and social affairs," said Shen.

With a firm voice and white teeth, only her face with deep wrinkles reveal Shen Jilan’s age. In her seventies, this farm woman from Xigou Village, Pingshun County in Shanxi Province has for 48 years been coming to every one of the nine National People’s Congresses in Beijing as an elected deputy. She still serves as deputy Party chief of her village.

"I dared not utter a word at the National People’s Congress session when I was in twenties. But now I do my duty and exercise my right to convey the wishes and demands of people in the street."

Most women deputies to the National People’s Congress echoed Shen Jilan’s views on Women’s Day, whether they remained at their posts or took time off to celebrate.

One of the most prominent celebration was held at the Great Hall of the People where deputies mingled with other politicians, movie stars, model workers, international guests and others at a banquet sponsored by the All-China Women’s Federation where Peng Peiyun, vice chairman of 9th NPC Standing Committee, gave the welcoming address.

However, all over Beijing the day was recognized, including varied and colorful activities arranged specifically for NPC women deputies attending the on-going sessions. Zi Huayun, a woman member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), director of the Women’s Committee of the China Democratic National Construction Association (CDNCA), and also a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Arts, on the evening of March 5, attended a women’s party at the China Theatre. On the morning of March 7 there was a lecture on exemplary deeds by female model workers; in the afternoon, a party for Chinese and foreign women was held in the Great Hall of People. As soon as she finished her interview with our reporter, in a rush Zi went to attend the women’s party organized by the CDNCA.

At the Railway Mansion, the hotel where about 300 CPPCC members are staying -- about 75 of them women – management made special arrangements for Women’s Day, starting with small gifts sent to each woman’s room.

“Since the International Working Women’s Day coincides with the convening of the CPPCC, we organize some activities specifically for women participants every year. This year the All-China Women’s Federation group of the CPPCC happened to stay in this hotel. Of course we offer activities to allow them to have a happy get-together,” said Gao Hong, head receptionist at the Railway Mansion.

“In the evening of March 8, we will hold a party to celebrate March 8 International Women’s Day for all woman members staying at our hotel. Jin Yidan, well-known hostess of the China Central Television Station and also a member of CPPC, will host the party. Qin Yi, a famous actress, Wang Xiaotang, head of the Eight One Film Studio, Sun Sumin, president of Beijing Opera School, will be on the stage to present some performances. In addition to this, we arrange for men members to join the party, too. They will present flowers to woman members and invite them to dance,” Gao said.

But two delegates who did not attend the festivities this year were Zulifeiya Amudu Kadi’er and Tuo’erxun Nanya -- two young minority NPC deputies from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Their tall and slim figures, curly hair, yellow caps trimmed with golden lace, and the colorful traditional Uygur attire make them the most eye-catching deputies at on-going sessions.

“At this year’s session, I feel highly pressed by the very limited time. Every deputy from Xinjiang, especially we women deputies have been very busy in reading the updated newspapers and sorting out our files and many proposals since the opening of the session,” said Kadi’er.

Shang Xiuyun, deputy presiding judge of the second criminal court of the Beijing Haidian District People’s Court and deputy to the Ninth National People’s Congress (NPC), also was curtailing her social activities on March 8 this year.

Looking at piles of materials on her desk, Shang explained that she needed time to write proposals. The healthy growth of teenagers and fight against juvenile delinquency top priorities for this judge and deputy.

“People’s deputies have no single moment’s leisure at all. Shouldering great trust from people, we must try our best to fulfill our duties! I think it substantial and worthwhile to spend a busy International Women’s Day,” said Shang.

Gao Lipu, a deputy who is also an expert in food safety at the Beijing Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute, was also at her post: “I don’t feel much different at this moment since I spend the women’s festival in the course of the NPC every year,” she said. Although she planned to attend some social activities organized by her delegation, her thoughts were primarily with the conference:

“I’m gratified that Premier Zhu Rongji’s Report on the Work of the Government mentions the issue of agricultural products safety during the 10th Five-Year Plan period. The economic development sets new demands on food safety. As experts in agricultural science, we are taking on a difficult job.”

(By Chen Yanyan, china.org.cn staff reporter, March 8, 2002)

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