China is continuing efforts of reducing the number of officials
and incorporating more ordinary citizens into its legislative
bodies to make them more representative of the public.
Among the 770 newly-selected deputies to the People's Congress
of Beijing Municipality, only 62, or eight percent, were from
government departments, compared with 100 five years ago, the
People's Daily reported.
Among Shanghai's 860 deputies, the number of officials of, or
higher than, prefecture level were 49 less than that of five years
ago, the paper said, without giving exact figures.
It had also become a general trend in other provincial-level
legislature elections to cut the number of officials, it added.
"To cut the number of officials in legislatures provides bigger
access for grassroots deputies, a move that makes legislators more
representative of the general public," the paper quoted Han Dayuan,
a law professor with Renmin University of China, as saying.
In Beijing, the number of worker deputies increased to 28 from
10 five years ago. The number of farmer deputies rose from 13 to
21. In central Henan Province, grassroots deputies accounted for 36
percent of the total.
In particular, the country's hundreds of millions of rural
migrant workers are having more of their own representatives seated
in provincial legislatures.
Beijing, Shanghai and Fujian Province saw in January, for the
first time, the election of migrant workers as local legislators,
the paper said.
The election of migrants as local lawmakers began in 2002 in
Zhejiang Province when Zhu Linfei became a deputy in Yiwu City
At last year's annual session of the National People's Congress,
a bill was passed that stipulated provinces and municipalities with
large populations of rural migrant workers should set deputy quotas
for the disadvantaged group.
In a People Daily story on Monday, the voice of the Communist
Party of China lauded the elections of migrant legislators as "a
landmark event" in the country's socialist democratic political
It also indicated that in March there may be migrant-worker
legislators attending the National People's Congress, China's top
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2008)