BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) — In 2017, Jilie Ziri, the first college student from the mountainous Abuluoha Village in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, decided to give up his job and return to his hometown.
Serving as the secretary of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC’s) village branch, Jilie Ziri has led local residents in combatting poverty and pursuing a prosperous life. After years of efforts by Jilie Ziri and his fellow villagers, the once isolated town has been linked to the outside world with a paved road, and the people’s living standard has been greatly improved. Now, the young man, born in 1995 and from the Yi ethnic group, is in Beijing for the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), where he and other deputies to the 14th NPC will discuss and decide how to bring a better life to the Chinese people. As global observers are closely watching the NPC and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), known as the “two sessions,” Jilie Ziri’s experience provides a personal perspective for them to better understand China’s whole-process people’s democracy.
“I was following the two sessions last year. There was a driver who was one of the deputies appointed to sit in that body. There were delivery riders, farmers, teachers, cooks, doctors, journalists, who ordinarily will not make it to an institution where laws are made,” said Eric Biegon, a journalist at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. He was deeply impressed by the wide representation of the deputies. “What captures my attention when it comes to China and (its) politics is that (the Chinese) have chosen a path that tends to bring people at the center of decision-making,” he said.
When talking about China’s “two sessions,” many overseas observers like Biegon spontaneously mention broad representation, which features prominently in China’s whole-process people’s democracy. In their eyes, broad representation is a necessary requirement for ensuring that the people are the masters of the country. The 2,977 deputies to the 14th NPC make up a broad cross-section of people, with every region, ethnic group and sector of society having an appropriate number of representatives. In the new lineup, 497 deputies are workers and farmers, 634 technical personnel, accounting for 16.69 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively.
The 2,172 members of the 14th CPPCC National Committee are from all of China’s 56 ethnic groups, and 60.8 percent of them are not CPC members. Zia Banday, senior research fellow at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, said deputies and members of the “two sessions” in China represent the interests of the people. They prepare for a long time each year, put forward opinions and suggestions, conduct deliberations and discussions, and provide ideas for national and people’s livelihoods. This unique model ensures that the “two sessions” can fully reflect the voice of the Chinese people, he said.
The decision-making in the “two sessions” is open to all Chinese and friends who are interested in the overall development of the country, said Ronnie Lins, director of the China-Brazil Center for Research and Business and a senior expert on China’s decision-making mechanism.”I think the outcomes that China has achieved in recent years show that the process is broad in opinion and effective in results. The country’s economic and social achievements speak for themselves.”Every year, topics discussed at China’s “two sessions” are always the focus of international attention.
Development and people’s livelihood have always been important issues in China’s “two sessions,” fully reflecting the importance of “the people” in China’s socialist democracy, Patricio Giusto, director of the Sino-Argentine Observatory, told Xinhua. Last year, 92 changes were made to The Report on the Work of the Government based on the suggestions put forward by the NPC deputies and CPPCC members. Offices and departments under the State Council handled 8,721 suggestions from NPC deputies and 5,865 proposals submitted by CPPCC National Committee members, accounting for 94.8 percent and 95 percent of the total number of suggestions and proposals, respectively.
Sommad Pholsena, vice president of the Lao National Assembly, pointed out that Chinese leaders not only communicate with the NPC deputies and CPPCC members during the “two sessions,” but also often conduct research at the grassroots level, which reflects that the thoughts and concerns of the Chinese people are at the heart of the CPC at all times. The CPC and the government have always given thoughtful and scientific policy responses to the people’s needs and appeals through collective thinking, he noted, saying that China’s whole-process people’s democracy integrates process-oriented democracy with results-oriented democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people’s democracy with the will of the state.
Jean Christophe Iseux von Pfetten, president of the Institute for East-West Strategic Studies in Britain, was invited by the then mayor of Changchun to be a specially invited member of the CPPCC. As a long-time observer of China, Pfetten told Xinhua that through his personal experience, he found that China’s democratic practice is devoted to solving practical problems, as he witnessed how the local two sessions focused on addressing issues related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers. The China hand also participated in the discussion with his experience of working for the World Trade Organization. The NPC deputies and CPPCC members will review the government work report delivered at the beginning of the annual session of the NPC, and make amendments and put forward new proposals and new suggestions and make it a very useful document, said Muhammad Asghar, special correspondent of Associated Press of Pakistan in China. So, the “two sessions” are very important as they make policies and plans for the next year, said Asghar, noting that they implement all of the plans which are always very beneficial for the people.
Pooling wisdom and seeking benefits for all, China’s rapid economic and social development and effective governance cannot be separated from the whole-process people’s democracy. The truth is that with this political system, China has done very well in terms of economic development and social welfare in general, and became the second-largest economy in the world, said Giusto, the Argentina expert. “I have been to China many times. I understand that China’s progress is not accidental. This is due to the unity of the Chinese people, together with the vision of the leadership of the Communist Party of China,” said Chea Munyrith, president of the Cambodian Chinese Evolution Researcher Association.
Recalling his visit to Xishuangbanna in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, Munyrith said that “I saw the spirit of development under the image of a united people force, which is a form of democracy with the Chinese characteristic. The development of villages is the decision of the people in the village and with the consultation and guidance of local CPC members.” “I have always admired and shared this picture with the villagers in Cambodia, and I have always talked with my government officials and friends in Cambodia about this good form of democracy,” he added. The Chinese style democratic model adopts an approach featuring consultative democracy under the CPC leadership. Such a system, seeking to bring its people together for a common goal, proves to be a story of success and serves as an inspiring paradigm for other developing countries.
The Chinese democracy has pulled 800 million people out of poverty and contributed to establishing infrastructure and health systems that benefit the Chinese people, said Asghar, the Pakistani journalist. “I think that the Chinese democratic system is becoming a model for so many countries,” Asghar added. For Munyrith, who was once the head of the translation team for the Cambodian version of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China,” what impressed him most about China’s democratic system is that the CPC has always put the people first. “As the ruling party, the Communist Party of China represents the interests of the people, and all policies put the interests of the people first,” he added.
Pointing out that there are various types of democratic system models, Pfetten emphasized that the Chinese socialist consultative democracy provides an elegant way of solving the antithesis between equality and liberty.The British scholar is writing a book on Chinese democracy, elaborating on the achievements of the Chinese democracy to readers based on his individual experience in China. Sommad Pholsena, vice president of the Lao National Assembly, said that the innovative proposal of whole-process people’s democracy demonstrates the self-confidence of the CPC, and offers fresh insights into the democratic building in other countries.