BEIJING - A crucial political event gathering Chinese national lawmakers and political advisors has showcased the country's "genuine and effective" democratic model, and stressed a slew of policy priorities including ethnic unity, food security and economic stability.
The annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), dubbed the "two sessions", are convened this year against the backdrop of a protracted COVID-19 pandemic and international uncertainties.
The fifth session of the 13th NPC has seen lawmakers consider a law amendment honing the people's congress system. It is also reviewing a government work report promising measures to stabilize the economy.
President Xi Jinping joined lawmakers and political advisors in deliberations and discussions, delivering important speeches that mapped out plans for strengthening ethnic unity, promoting the country's rural revitalization, and enhancing the rule of law in national defense and military building.
ETHNIC UNITY, FOOD SECURITY
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, joined a deliberation with fellow lawmakers from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Saturday.
He hailed ethnic unity as the "lifeline" of Chinese people of all ethnic groups and stressed efforts to forge a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation.
Any work that can help forge a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation should be done in a thorough, meticulous and solid manner, he said.
Joining national political advisors in a joint group meeting on Sunday, Xi said that in promoting rural revitalization, the supply of major agricultural products, grain in particular, must be secured as the top priority.
"Despite China's industrialization, food supply should never be considered an insignificant issue, and we cannot rely solely on the international market to solve it," Xi said, warning against slacking off on the food security issue.
China should be well-prepared, remain vigilant on food security, and adhere to the principle of self-sufficiency based on domestic grain production, guaranteed production capacity, moderate food imports and technological support, he said.
GENUINE, EFFECTIVE DEMOCRACY
China practices a "whole-process people's democracy", which is "the broadest, most genuine, and most effective" democracy.
The notion, first raised by Xi during an inspection tour in Shanghai in 2019, has become a buzzword during this year's "two sessions".
Lawmakers are deliberating a draft amendment to the Organic Law of the Local People's Congresses and Local People's Governments, which will make "upholding whole-process people's democracy" a guiding principle.
Lawmakers are also mulling giving more seats in the next-term national legislature to people from the grassroots level and women, with a draft decision on the quota and election of deputies to the 14th NPC submitted for deliberation.
According to a work report of the NPC Standing Committee, all 473 proposals deputies put forward during the fourth session of the 13th NPC were reviewed by NPC special committees, and all 8,993 suggestions submitted by deputies during that session were forwarded to 194 organizations for examination and handling, which has now been completed. The proposals and suggestions covered various areas including measures to improve people's wellbeing, ecological protection and green development.
Responding to a question about whether China and the United States are vying for a greater say in democracy, Guo Weimin, spokesperson for the CPPCC session, said the United States convenes the so-called "Summit for Democracy" to suppress others and divide the world while maintaining its hegemony.
Guo said the United States uses democracy as a pretext to serve its own interests. "Democracy is diverse in its forms, and is not a patent held by a few countries," he said. "The democratic systems of countries should be chosen independently by their own people based on national conditions."
STABLE GROWTH TOP PRIORITY
Economic stability must be a top priority in the government's work in 2022, and progress must be pursued while ensuring stability, noted this year's government work report.
"In the face of new downward pressure, the task of ensuring stable growth needs to occupy an even more prominent position," the report said.
China has set its economic growth target for this year at around 5.5 percent, representing a medium-high rate of growth given the country's massive economic aggregate.
Along with the GDP target, China aims to create over 11 million new urban jobs, keep a surveyed urban unemployment rate of no more than 5.5 percent, keep grain output at over 650 million tonnes and lower the ratio of its deficit to GDP to stand at around 2.8 percent in 2022.
China will ramp up efforts to pursue prudent and effective macro policies, continuously energize market entities, and expand reform and opening-up, said the report.