China's top political adviser sees religion playing a bigger role in promoting social and global harmony.
The remarks came in recognition of the growing role religion plays in many people's lives in China.
"We will give full play to the positive role of religion in promoting social harmony," said Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
"The unique role of the China Committee on Religion and Peace will be brought into full play in strengthening exchanges and cooperation with foreign religious communities and in safeguarding and promoting world peace."
Jia made these remarks in a keynote report on the advisory body's work in the past year and its agenda for the coming year at the opening of the 10th National Committee of the CPPCC on Saturday.
More than 2,000 CPPCC National Committee members will lay out the nation's major concerns during the 12-day meeting.
Nearly 31.4 percent of the population aged 16 and above, or about 300 million people, are religious, according to a recent poll by the Shanghai-based East China Normal University.
During his speech, Jia also said the CPPCC would allow the non-Communist political parties and people without party affiliation to play a bigger role in politics.
Statistics indicate that non-Communists account for nearly half, or 340,000, of the CPPCC members.
Jia called on CPPCC members to take seriously their duties to provide political consultation, oversee democracy and participate in and discuss State affairs.
"The year 2007 is very important as the 17th CPC (Chinese Communist Party) National Congress is scheduled to convene in the second half of this year," he said.
He said the proposals aimed at improving social equality, morality and stability and protecting the environment that had come up over the previous year had contributed to the country's effort to build a harmonious society.
This year the CPPCC will hold special consultations on how to accelerate the development of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and promote regional economic cooperation.
It will also organize special research projects and inspection tours aimed at improving the country's macroeconomic relationships, restructuring the economy, changing the country's pattern of growth, increasing the conservation of energy and resources, protecting environment and encouraging independent innovation. The projects will also grapple with social welfare issues like education, medical care and housing.
Source: China Daily