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Lawmakers to talk with netizens during 'two sessions'
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The upcoming annual session of China's top legislature will for the first time invite lawmakers to web chatrooms to talk with netizens, an official with the "two sessions" press center said on Monday.

Zhu Shouchen, vice director of the press center, told Xinhua the online communication will be done in collaboration with Xinhuanet and nine other major websites.

Lawmakers had talked with netizens before, but this will be the first time such events are being hosted by the organizers of the "two sessions," .

The "two sessions" refer to the Second Session of the 11th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, and the Second Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body.

Zhu said that China population of netizens, estimated at 300 million, is the largest in the world, and that Internet is playing a bigger and bigger role in society.

"China is merging into the world, and the Chinese government has become more transparent and open to the media," said Zhu, adding that with more foreign journalists to cover the "two sessions", new requirements have been set for their work.

He said that the press center will try its best to provide people-oriented, individualized and specified service for journalists.

China's netizens has become an increasingly powerful force in political and social life. Internet-Led witch-hunts, for "human flesh search engines" have played key roles in the exposure of several high-profile cases involving corruption and abuse of power by officials.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had a two-hour online communications with netizens Saturday. In his first close contact with netizens in the web chatroom, he asserted that "people has the right to criticize government policy and government also needs to be open and democratic in its policy-making."

Chinese President Hu Jintao in January 2007 also urged government officials "to improve their Internet literacy and use the Internet well so as to improve the art of leadership".

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2009)

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