Woman: "Being A Lawmaker Is No Longer A Mere Honor"

Two decades back, when she attended a session of the National People's Congress (NPC) for the first time, Chen Lunfen, now 55, regarded her NPC deputy capacity merely as a rare honor on top of being a model worker.

"At that time, I thought what I should do was to attend meetings and OK all legislative resolutions, with no sense of participating in state affairs," she recalled.

Things have changed now, however. "I am attending and speaking at NPC sessions for the public," she told reporters. Chen has been elected an NPC deputy for 23 years in succession and seen as the most experienced member of the Beijing delegation of deputies.

A fellow deputy from Beijing said Chen has been repeatedly elected to the national legislature because of her dedication to speaking for the public. "I like to make proposals and suggestions, " Chen said. One third of these proposals have been accepted.

In the past, there were few arguments in the NPC discussions and all the proposals were passed with 100 percent votes in favor, she recalled. Then, there came one or two cons when a bill is voted upon, which, she said, sounded a bit fancy. But more and more deputies voted against NPC motions. "Now, it's hard to see a bill that was passed with support from 100 percent of the deputies. "

Chen is an eloquent woman, but she was not before. "I'm forced to be like this," she said. Lots of people know her and often come to her for help. Chen is, concurrently, a deputy of the people's congress of Chaoyang District of Beijing.

Along with progress in democracy in China, people are much more aware of and interested in politics. As a result, lawmakers are now under greater pressure from the people and have to make in-depth investigations among the people. She visited the local crematorium four times in order to find out problems existing in the funeral and interment business.

Chen has been working with a state-owned electronics factory for three decades, now making some 1,000 yuan a month. She never forgets being an ordinary worker. "The people are my big boss," the female NPC deputy said.

"I felt very happy, whenever my proposals were accepted and my opinions received positive response," she said. These years the government has accepted many proposals and suggestions by NPC deputies who are now playing a big role in political, economic and social fields, according to the woman.

"I'm proud of being an NPC deputy and I want to live up to the trust of the people," said Chen, who has brought with her a dozen proposals to the current NPC session.

(Xinhua 03/07/2001)