The 13th Beijing People's Congress, the city's legislature, started the first annual session within its five-year term on Sunday, with emphasis on efforts for the upcoming Olympic Games and the elections of a new government leadership.
Beijing vice and acting mayor Guo Jinlong put the preparations at the top of the municipal government's agenda for the year while delivering a work report to about 770 congress deputies.
"We must accomplish the preparations for the Olympic Games and provide services in high-level and high-caliber ways," Guo said.
"Hosting the 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympics is a great event for the people and the Chinese nation."
He gave high marks to the city's Olympic preparations so far. However, he admitted "the task to control pollution and traffic congestion is still arduous".
The government also needed to provide better public services and improve the management of the city, he said.
A number of elections have been arranged during the weeklong session to elect deputies to the National People's Congress, the standing committee of the Beijing legislature, mayor and vice mayors, Beijing high court president and procurator-general of the Beijing procuratorate, according to sources of the body.
Congress spokesman Liu Weilin told Xinhua the legislature featured "new faces", ranging from a dustman to a property tycoon.
The number of ordinary workers in the legislature had risen from 10 to 28. There were also 21 farmers, eight more than five years ago.
The congress also saw more lawyers and professionals from the financial sector, which observers said was a result of the social development.
(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2008)