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Deputies, advisers strive to make a difference

Updated: 2016-03-17 08:10
By Zhang Zhouxiang (China Daily)

Although I was assigned to cover this year's two sessions, I was not interested in the grand meeting at first.

Deputies discuss the annual national budget involving trillions of yuan, and I am only a humble wage earner. What has that to do with me?

My first trip was to the hotels where delegations from Henan province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region were staying. I arrived early along with the delegations to get familiar with them.

That trip changed my mind about the two sessions.

As I stood in the hall of a hotel, I happened to recognize a deputy, Li Guangyu, head of the Affiliated High School of Peking University, Henan branch. We talked a little while and the topic turned to what advice or motion he would offer this year.

"Educational equality," he said. "Only 7.5 percent of Henan high school graduates enroll at key universities. The percentage is 24 for Beijing and Tianjin and 22 for Shanghai. I'm always proposing giving Henan students more opportunities, and this year I will continue."

Deputies, advisers strive to make a difference

Born and raised in Henan myself, I could not agree more. Thirteen years after graduating from high school, I still often have nightmares about the days before taking the gaokao, the national college entrance exam. The number of college applicants from Henan was highest in the nation, yet the chance of admission ranked much lower.

Had I made a habit of sleeping earlier over the years, I might not have been part of China Daily today.

That afternoon, I also interviewed college presidents, a judge from a local court and a doctor who has been practicing medicine in a village for 49 years. Their motions and proposals varied, but they had one thing in common: they were practical. One college president called for fair education; the judge hoped to strengthen labor protection; the village doctor proposed to provide better medical conditions for rural regions to protect people's health.

On the late subway traveling home, I suddenly realized that the two sessions were not so far away from me as I had reckoned. Being elected from among the people, deputies are ordinary people, too, and they face the same everyday problems as everyone else. They care about ordinary people's daily lives, and it's their job to express real needs to the top powers of the State.

Actually, the State has long been promoting ordinary people's lives. In his 2016 Government Work Report, Premier Li Keqiang many times mentioned people's livelihoods, and he got applause for that. Among the measures already taken, simplifying administrative approval procedures will help people open shops more easily, while construction of affordable housing will make more people's dreams of living in their own homes come true. Insurance against major diseases will help prevent the tragedy of families being driven into poverty because of the high cost of healthcare.

Proposals and advice from NPC deputies and members of the CPPCC National Committee also touch our daily lives. As my first articles about Henan won positive feedback, I decided to cover the two sessions from the angle of ordinary people's lives. Yes, ordinary people's lives should be, and are, the primary concern of the supreme political power of the nation.

To accomplish my goal, I carefully studied materials I could collect about each of the deputies, looking for clues leading to people's lives.

Among the deputies I interviewed, some proposed to construct more roads for regions with large minority populations, while some advised widening channels for technical laborers nationwide. Each of the deputies, driven by concern for people's livelihoods, was willing to sit down and share his or her concerns with a journalist.

As I arrived at the office in the evening, my editor was still there.

"How are the days at the two sessions?" he asked. "Did you get bored?"

I replied with a smile. "Next year, please give me the opportunity again."

Contact the writer at zhangzhouxiang@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 03/17/2016 page6)

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