It is natural to inquire about the situation of the China Association for the Promotion of Democracy when interviewing Xu Jialu, the association’s chairman, and Xu responded by talking about the association with as much enthusiasm as if he were enumerating his family valuables. He especially mentioned the association’s principle of consolidating old fronts and developing new ones.
For historical reasons, Xu Jialu said, the participation of the China Association for the Promotion of Democracy in the deliberations and the administration of state affairs for a long time has been focused on the fields of culture, education, science and technology. However, with the coming of a new age, China has implemented a policy with economic construction as the main focus of work. Hence, the association, besides continuing to play a role in the fields of culture, publishing and education, is also involved in promoting industry and agriculture. The recent “scientific and technological training program for rural young people,” jointly sponsored by the association, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture is considered one of the “new fronts.”
Xu explained that the association had suggested to the CPC Central Committee and the State Council that “sustainable development” should be enriched by “rational development and utilization of resources.” The suggestion was approved by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress in 1999. This year, the association advanced a new proposal that “ecological protection” should include wetlands as well as forestry and the maritime environment.
Xu said that the countryside, agriculture and farmers’ livelihood are the three key concerns of all democratic parties. Recently, the association started a project entitled “Spark Program Stretching to the Western Region” by cooperating with the Ministry of Science and Technology. A seminar in this respect has been planned in Xi’an in June. In fact, before the operation of the project, the association had helped Shaanxi Province establish its own Spark Program bases which will start operation this year.
In regard to education, as suggested by the association, children in poverty-stricken areas will have free text books this year, and prices for text books in some other areas also will be reduced.
Tomorrow: Xu Jialu, who is also a professor of Chinese literature at Beijing Normal University, talks about his taking a leading role in creating China’s first law on use of language and script.
(By Yan Xixia, china.org.cn staff reporter, translated by Li Jingrong March 9, 2002)