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New twist at NPC and CPPCC sessions
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Although the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are regular events, the media has never failed to find something interesting and different.

The latest twist came from how representatives and members are to be seated in the Great Hall of the People.

An earlier report by the Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao, suggested that seating arrangements for delegates and members were to be changed for the first time in decades.

In the past, seats were assigned according to the number of the Chinese character strokes in delegates' names, which was bad luck for delegates and members whose complicated names meant they had to sit at the back of the hall for the duration of their five-year term.

According to Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the second session of the 11th CPPCC National Committee, the arrangements are going to be changed. One fifth of the delegates and members will be moved forward at each annual session so that everyone will get a chance to sit near the front at least once during their term of office.

Another change is that delegates and members are to be asked to sing the national anthem at the opening and closing ceremonies of the two sessions, rather than just listening while the band plays.

(China.org.cn by He Shan, March 2, 2009)

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