Online meetings bring representatives from grassroots together with officials

Updated: 2020-06-30 China Daily

Given the current epidemic control and prevention situation, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee has adopted innovative methods including holding online meetings where special representatives nationwide attended discussions.

On the morning of June 23, Zou Meng, a resident from a resettlement area in Liuzhou of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, joined a panel discussion by video link while sitting at home with his family.

"I am an electrician now, and live in an apartment of 81 square meters. I finally moved to town, which my ancestors would not have dared to dream of," Zou said.

He spoke online to representatives in Beijing and Guangxi, as well as Gansu and Sichuan provinces, which included CPPCC members and government officials at national and local levels.

It was a group discussion during a regular three-day conference of the Standing Committee of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, usually held once every two months, during which CPPCC members provide suggestions for policymakers.

The conference was the first meeting joined by the members of the standing committee of the CPPCC National Committee, including its chairman and vice-chairmen, since the two sessions last month. It was themed on the establishment of a long-term mechanism to end relative poverty.

For the first time, the CPPCC invited representatives from the grassroots such as villagers and front-line poverty relief workers to communicate with senior officials online.

Zou used to live in a struggling village. After being relocated to his new home in town, he received free electrician training provided by the local government and now earns a salary of 4,000 yuan ($566) a month.

At the online discussion, he said he hopes the government can continue such supportive measures.

In Sichuan, Wang Yonggui, a local political adviser, also presented the poverty alleviation relocation achievements through video at the meeting.

He livestreamed in front of newly constructed buildings in the resettlement area in the Liangshan prefecture of Sichuan.

The living environment here has been significantly improved since the villagers were moved from 30 kilometers away, but the risk of falling into poverty again is high, Wang said while streaming.

He suggested that policies such as industrial support and skills training should be continued in addition to providing equal public services to villagers and urban residents.

How to prevent the policies from ending after the goal of poverty alleviation is achieved as scheduled this year was a hot topic at the meeting.

Xie Xuezhi, a national political adviser who was in the meeting's main venue in Beijing, suggested that a transition period-during which they could still enjoy preferential policies-be extended for areas in deep poverty or weak developmental foundations after being lifted out of absolute poverty.

Huang Ribo, a member of the CPPCC Guangxi Committee, suggested that poverty alleviation policies such as education and medical care remain relatively stable during the transition period, and that monitoring of poverty alleviation households be strengthened.

The suggestions received positive responses from relevant ministries attending the meeting, including the Poverty Alleviation Office of the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance.

The National Committee of the CPPCC said the conference this time was a trial, and the political advisory body will keep the improvements and innovations of the two sessions in its regular meetings.

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