19 March , 2019
The Opinion Of Chinese Diaspora Can Be Heard In Two Sessions
Zhu Yiyuan, Chairman for African Chinese Woman Association and Consultant for Consular Protection Affairs of the Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg, attended the first session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee in 2018. Photo: Courtesy of Zhu Yiyuan
At the opening ceremony of the annual session of China’s top political advisory body which will kick off on Sunday, attended by more than 2,000 national political advisors, there will be a special group of attendees who are not political advisors, but will sit at the front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. It is a group of overseas Chinese who have been invited to attend the second annual session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as observers.
Since 2001, the CPPCC National Committee had invited 550 overseas Chinese from 79 countries to attend the meeting as of 2018. The observers were recommended by several government departments in China and enjoy considerable reputation and influence in their countries of residence. Some of these overseas Chinese have already obtained the residing countries’ passports. They are not guests, but participants of one of the country’s most important political meetings. During the annual two sessions, they are engaged in discussions of pivotal issues related to China’s economic and social development, and voice the opinions of the Chinese diaspora – about 60 million people – and provide their suggestions from different perspectives.
Ahead of this year’s annual meeting, the second session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee which will begin on Sunday, the Global Times interviewed some observers who attended the first session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee in 2018. As a part of the 35 overseas Chinese observers who came from 25 countries, they described the attendance as an honor and a great opportunity once in their lifetime. In their eyes, the two sessions are down to earth and show a more open and confident China. Xu Jingbo, head of the Japan Bureau of the Asian News Agency, has been covering the two sessions as a reporter with a foreign media outlet since 1997. Xu recalled how he felt at last year’s annual session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee. Sitting at the observer’s desk, Xu felt he could understand China’s policies and goals in a deeper way. Xu still remembers the first time he covered the two sessions. At that time, few foreign media reporters came to Beijing to report the meetings and most of them were Beijing-based correspondents.
“Nowadays, there are so many foreign reporters and the two sessions are open to foreign media and offer them many opportunities for questions. China has become more open and confident,” Xu told the Global Times. Xu said that after attending the two sessions in 2018, he received invitations from Japanese federations and media interview requests. The most important mission for me is to “interpret the topics of the two sessions to the Japanese people, to elaborate the new ideas and strategies of the reform and opening-up in China’s new era, and let Japanese society better understand China,” Xu noted. Liu Hongyou, head of the Union of Chinese Residing in Japan, said the invitation to the two sessions is an honor and also a reward for his devotion to the overseas Chinese work.
After hearing voices from all walks of life, Liu said what impressed him most at last year’s two sessions was that the proposals were not only set in the domestic market but also showed solicitude for the common development of mankind.”China has displayed the demeanor and responsibility of a big country,” Liu said. Zhu Yiyuan, Chairman for African Chinese Woman Association and Consultant for Consular Protection Affairs of the Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg, was surprised to see the changes in the two sessions. The meetings are more down-to-earth. There are discussions on livelihood policies such as poverty alleviation and specific measures are brought up to develop the country, Zhu said.
For this year’s two sessions, Zhu hopes to see the progress and implementation of the proposals discussed at last year’s sessions. Fred Teng, President of the America China Public Affairs Institute, said during last year’s two sessions, he not only attended ceremonies and meetings but also gained an opportunity to meet with officials from the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to learn about the new developments of China. “It is a rare opportunity to observe how the National People’s Congress (NPC) and CPPCC National Committee summarized their work, to see what they have done for the whole year and to feel how they diligently perform their duties,” Teng told the Global Times. Under current international context, Teng said for this year’s two sessions, China will have continuous long-term issues to tackle such as poverty elimination, and how to promote international projects, especially those along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative.
(Global Times & People’s Daily)
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