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Unprecedented press access to CPPCC
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The media will get an unprecedented level of access to all 56 panel discussions of the first plenary session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) next month, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported Thursday.

Scheduled to open on March 3, discussions involving all 34 member groups of the CPPCC, the country's top political advisory body, will be open to media interviews at least once during the eight-day annual session, the paper reported.

Last year, less than half as many were open to the press.

Previously, panel discussions by groups such as the Chinese Communist Party, religious groups and the group for specially invited members from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, were not open to the press.

The newspaper said this year's session will also see an increase in the number of press conferences and group interviews.

The session's media center will reportedly provide the press with details such as the names of CPPCC members, hotels where members are expected to stay and other contact information to encourage reporters to "directly get in touch with members for interviews".

"The scale and degree of openness of this year's event is unparalleled," the paper said.

The CPPCC comprises representatives of the Chinese Communist Party and non-Communist parties, people without party affiliation, representatives of people's organizations and ethnic minorities spanning the social spectrum.

It also includes representatives from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, returned overseas Chinese and other invited members.

Regarded as the government's think tank, the CPPCC includes large numbers of activists, public figures, experts and scholars from various fields.

Members' proposals help the State to make scientific and democratic decisions, especially with the quality of proposals improving and becoming more valuable and practical, Yang Zhenjie, vice-chairman of the subcommittee for handling proposals of the 10th CPPCC National Committee, said.

He was speaking on Tuesday at a conference summarizing the overall proposals in the past five years by the 10th National Committee of the CPPCC.

In the past five years, the committee has received 23,081 proposals from its 2,249 members, with 99 percent of them being accepted, investigated and replied to by government and Party departments.

(China Daily February 22, 2008)

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