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China to Use Video Links, Hotlines for Two Sessions


BEIJING – Leading officials of China’s cabinet departments are usually required to sit in on meetings during the country’s annual national legislative and political advisory sessions as non-voting participants. But this year, amid regularized measures to prevent COVID-19, they are told to teleconference.

A State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday said considering the special circumstances at present, it is necessary to innovate the ways government officials hear comments and suggestions.

By using video links, telephones, and the internet, government officials particularly want to hear the expectations of market entities and the people, said a statement issued after Wednesday’s meeting.

The National People’s Congress, the top legislature, is scheduled to open its annual session on May 22 while the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the top political advisory body, will hold its annual session starting on May 21 after being delayed for more than two months by the epidemic.

In the face of the “extremely arduous and complex” situation this year, it is imperative to pool even more wisdom and strength from national lawmakers and political advisors in order to improve the government’s work, said the statement, calling for turning the suggestions into policy outcomes to solve tough problems.

Officials of relevant State Council departments are ordered to tune in live to the deliberation of the government work report by lawmakers through video links, take notes of the comments and suggestions, and do research and respond if the issues are under their purview of responsibilities.

The third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) is scheduled to open in Beijing on May 22, said Zhang Yesui, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC, in an interview with Xinhua.

The duration of the session will be appropriately shortened, Zhang said, adding that the agenda and schedule will need to be approved at meetings before the session.

Some of the Chinese and foreign journalists in Beijing will be invited to cover the session but journalists who are overseas will not be invited to come to Beijing for reporting, Zhang added.

News conferences, briefings, and other interview activities will be appropriately streamlined and conducted in innovative forms such as by video link, he said.

Zhang said the session’s news center has received applications from more than 3,000 Chinese and foreign reporters to cover the event, expressing his gratitude to their attention to China’s economic and social development and the legislative session itself.

He also said when the session holds plenary meetings; foreign envoys will be invited to observe the meetings. Some of the Chinese and foreign journalists in Beijing will be invited to cover the meetings in the Great Hall of the People.

No open-day activities or other group interviews will be held by various delegations, Zhang said. But spokespersons will be appointed by delegations, press liaison officers will assist press interviews, and studios will be set up at the hotels the delegations stay to encourage deputies to be interviewed, he added.

Information, as well as main documents in Chinese and foreign languages, will be posted on the website of the session’s press center in a timely manner, Zhang said.

The session is committed to being open and transparent to provide services to Chinese and foreign journalists for news reporting, he said.


Source: ChinaDaily, Xinhua


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