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Free flow of ideas leads to a lively symposium

Updated: 2012-12-12 02:57
By Jin Haixing ( China Daily)

When An Lili, a graduate student at Beijing Normal University, was instructed to attend a symposium on Monday, she prepared a 700-word report and planned to repeat it verbatim.

She anticipated the meeting would be long and boring.

But when the symposium started, An found it very different from what she expected, and she soon realized her prepared speech was unnecessary.

The symposium, in the Xicheng district of Beijing, was presided over by Liu Yunshan, a newly elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the country's top ruling body.

At the symposium, attended by 20 officials and members of Beijing's enterprises, villages and universities, Liu called for the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the CPC to be implemented in work and study, and listened to suggestions about how this can be achieved.

In the conference room, the round table was bare: no fruit plates, no banners — just notebooks and teacups.

Although the meeting was organized by a higher authority, Xicheng district has already adopted a pared-down style of government conferences, a Xicheng district publicity official named Liu said on Tuesday.

A publicity department official of the Beijing government named Long confirmed that conferences in the capital are now simple, in response to the spirit of the 18th Party Congress, which ended last month.

Because the public servants in the district government were busy, no welcoming event was held for Liu, said Wang Ning, Party chief of Xicheng, The Beijing News reported.

No lunch was arranged for the attendants, Wang said.

Another significant change was the way the symposium was run.

Liu asked attendants not to read from prepared texts, but instead have a free and open discussion. He also called for criticism.

Liu suggested that government speeches should be less than two hours because two-hour speeches are boring for listeners.

He called for better research to address people's immediate concerns.

The symposium was supposed to run for two hours, but because of the heated discussion, it was extended to 12:15 pm. Liu took notes and asked questions during the discussion.

An Lili said the questions raised by Liu inspired her to think.

Monday's symposium was another example of the style of China's new leadership, experts said.

Contact the writers at jinhaixing@chinadaily.com.cn

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