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Liu Xiang to be absent from 'two sessions'
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China's Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang will be absent from the country's most important political event this month, a source in charge of reception work confirmed on Saturday.

The two sessions refer to the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress and the First Session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"Liu will not attend the two sessions this year," said an unidentified manager of the Twenty-first Century Hotel in Beijing, which hosts members of the CPPCC National Committee from the sports sector.

Liu, 25, is one of the youngest among the 2,237 members of the top political advisory body. He will be in a squad of 11 Chinese athletes to the world indoor championships in Valencia, Spain, from March 7 to 9, and compete in the 60 meters hurdles.

Liu, from Shanghai, is the world record holder of the men's 110m hurdles at 12.88 seconds. He was the first Chinese male athlete to win track and field gold at the 2004 Athens Games.

The CPPCC session, scheduled to open on Monday, will be attended by more than 2,200 members from 34 delegations grouped by varied social sectors. Wednesday will mark the opening of the First Session of 11th NPC, the top legislature.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2008)

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