Chinese legislators and political advisors, who also act as
farmers, factory workers, village officials and residential
committee heads, are bringing their motions and proposals
concerning the immediate interests of the public to the ongoing
"two sessions" in Beijing.
"The problems we have brought forth are quite simple and common
but they are really happening around us," said Chen Xueying, a
lawmaker from Huizhou City, south China's Guangdong Province, having promised to take
grassroots voices to Beijing.
Chen, who left her rural hometown 21 years ago to do a temporary
job in the southern city, is now a workshop director and has been a
deputy to the country's top legislature for nearly ten years.
The "two sessions" refer to the once-a-year full conferences of
the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, and the
National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory body.
Chen and some other NPC deputies jointly submitted a suggestion
demanding the country's "big four" commercial banks to stop
collecting inquiry fees (about 30 cents for each service).
"Although the sum is small, it's really a big deal for commoners
like farmers and workers," said Chen, adding she will put forward
any problem concerning public interests to the top legislature, no
matter how small it is.
Like most national lawmakers, Chen has made a thorough research
and investigation by visiting neighborhoods and talking to
individuals living in his precinct before submitting motions or
suggestions to the top legislature. She usually brings possible
solutions back after the "two sessions."
NPC deputies at various levels are key channels transmitting
grassroots voices, and an effective reflection of local opinions
and problems, said Jiang Hongbin, a lawmaker from China's
northeastern province of Heilongjiang.
"A sound development of grassroots democracy offers fundamental
nutrition to the country's overall democratic situation," he
"Residential and village committees produce the China-style
grassroots democracy as the problems with immediate concerns to the
public can be effectively resolved," Jiang said, adding the two
sessions this year put more emphasis on grassroots problems, which
have been brought forth by grassroots deputies who keenly
understand public concerns.
For instance, Jiang said, if an NPC deputy wants to reveal the
real situation of agriculture to the top legislature, she or he
visits farming households and collect their opinions.
"It's an entire chain linking people's aspirations, national
targets and lawmakers' responsibilities," Jiang said.
In Luonan Village of Foshan City, Guangdong Province, villagers
regularly cast their votes to elect members of the village
committee or deputies to local people's congress at township or
county levels, after listening to candidates' campaign
"Villagers are enthusiastic about choosing those who can fully
represent them," said Guan Runyao, director of the Luonan Village
The central government is striving to spread such democracy in
villages across the country. In some poor villages, people only
gather in the backyard of the village head, sit on the stools they
bring with them from their homes, and talk or debate for hours
about village affairs until they find a solution.
"Each progressive step of grassroots democracy can have some
impact on higher levels of political life, and finally reaches the
top and influences the country's political landscape," said Liu
Laiping, an NPC deputy and a judge from Guangdong.
(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)