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Sunday, April 14, 2024

What does ‘two sessions’ mean for Chinese democracy?

Democracy is not an ornament, it is not used as a decoration, but it is used to solve the problems that the people need to solve. The Chinese Communist Party has put forward the grand idea of whole-process people's democracy. The two sessions have become an important window for the international community to observe China's people-centered practice of people's democracy in the whole process.

“Two Sessions” is a specific terminology in the Chinese political system. To make it easy to understand, I would like to say that just like in Pakistan, there are two legislative houses: one National Assembly and the other Senate. Similarly, in the US, there is a Congress and another is Senate, and so on. When two houses have a session together, is usually termed as a joint session. In the Chinese political system, it is the two legislative houses that meet jointly and are termed as “Two Sessions”. It is a very important event in the Chinese political system and is held once a year only, usually in the month of March. This year the Two sessions started on the 4th of March 2022.

People’s representative from all provinces, all minorities, political parties, regions, ethnic groups, has gathered in Beijing for “Two Sessions”. Two sessions’ is the annual event and is usually held in March every year. Chinese lawmakers participate in devising the future course of action in every dimension of China’s development and people’s wellbeing. Apart from another discussion, there is a dialogue on progress and a series of policy measures. This year it has started on the 4th of March.

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Understanding the actual matter

The fifth annual session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was held. On 5th March, the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) was held its fifth annual session. These important sessions had a comprehensive review of the overall government progress, governance-related matters, and national level policy reports along with taking important decisions to implement the national economy and development plans finalized. These sessions have also examined and drafted central and local budgets for 2022 at national and local levels.

Democracy is not an ornament, it is not used as a decoration, but it is used to solve the problems that the people need to solve. The Chinese Communist Party has put forward the grand idea of whole-process people’s democracy. The two sessions have become an important window for the international community to observe China’s people-centered practice of people’s democracy in the whole process.

Whether a country is democratic or not democratic, the key lies in whether it has truly achieved the people’s mastery. The people’s mastery is the unchangeable original intention of people’s democracy in the whole process of our country. People’s democracy in the whole process of our country not only has complete institutional procedures but also has complete participation in practice.

The world has seen delegates from all corners of China, representing all classes, segments of society, religion, minorities, and ethnic groups, discussing their issues and concerns. They have given their proposals and suggestions without any restriction. There are also subject specialists, covering all aspects of economic and social developments, to advise the Government on their area of expertise. After the free discussion, the points will be summarized and a consensus will be developed. All the agreed points will become part of the policy decision for planning and decide the future course of action in the following year. The Government will implement the decisions and policies formulated by the comprehensive in-depth discussion of people’s representatives.

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This is called the Chinese characteristic democracy

The beauty of the Chinese system is its people’s first approach and total welfare of the masses. This spirit the world has seen at the time of the outbreak of COVID-19, where the Government has prioritized the lives of its citizen over economic losses and fought against the pandemic bravely, and achieved success. Chinese leadership respects its people and takes good care of them. In return, the people of China are very much loyal to the Government and respect the leadership. Another mega achievement of China, worth mentioning is that it has eradicated poverty from China, from 88 percent in the 1980s, to almost zero. China has successfully up-lifted almost 850 million people from the poverty line. It is unprecedented in the known history of the world.

Despite all the tough challenges, that the world has been facing, and the global economy has been suffering, China is the only country that has shown positive economic and social development indicators. It is all possible due to Chinese characteristics of democracy, where people and the leadership are on one page and enjoys comprehensive harmony and trust.

China adheres to the people-centered development ideology and makes overall plans to promote epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development. Following the successful positive growth of the first recovery in 2020, China’s economy will grow by 8.1% in 2021, contributing about 25% to world economic growth.

Since last year, China has further expanded its opening up to the outside world, providing a broader platform for all kinds of enterprises around the world to enter the Chinese market and enjoy China’s development dividends. A series of international events such as the Ciudad Debac Hainan Expo, the Service Trade Fair CITTIS, the Canton Fair, and the CIIE of the CIIE was held as scheduled, sending to the world a firm signal that China’s “open door will only open wider and wider” in the new era. Many countries hope that while sharing the development dividend with China, they can also share China’s wisdom on global economic governance.

China will continue to advance science, technology, and innovation. Science, technology, and innovation is key engine for human progress, powerful weapon in tackling many global challenges, and the only way for China to foster a new development paradigm and achieve high-quality development. China will invest more in science and technology, develop an enabling system for innovation as a priority, turn breakthroughs in science and technology into actual productivity at a faster pace, and enhance intellectual property protection, all to foster innovation-driven, higher-quality growth.

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Scientific and technological advances should benefit all humanity rather than be used to curb and contain other countries’ development. China will think and act with more openness concerning international exchange and cooperation on science and technology. We will work with other countries to create an open, fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological advancement that is beneficial to all and shared by all.

It is similar to Core Commander Meetings in Pakistan, where free and open discussions are held on various issues, concerns, and debate is generated till the consensus is reached or a decision is anointed by the chair, usually the Chief of Army Staff. Every participant enjoys the full freedom of expression and openly share his views and concern on all possible aspects of the issues. One can present a different opinion too. But once the consensus is built or decisions are made, everyone has to respect the final decision and implement it in true later and spirit. In fact, this system is very close to Shura (Consultative) in the Islamic system.



The writer is Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at awanzamir@yahoo.com.  The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.