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Home >> China
UPDATED: 17:30, March 15, 2007
Chinese government prickled by more lawmakers, advisors
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Chinese lawmakers and political advisors, who are here attending the "two sessions", have been more straightforward in voicing their criticism targeting a wide range of government problems such as lavishness, corruption and rural issues.

The two sessions refer to the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People 's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are considered the most important annual political events in China.

"A local government spent more than 60 million yuan (7.7 million U.S. dollars) building a spa in a development zone. The money could have been used to subsidize many needy children for schooling," said Liu Bing, an NPC deputy.

Liu was just one of the lawmakers who lashed out at extravagance. Yuan Liben, a member of the CPPCC National Committee, slapped the unnecessary building of villas and golf courses across the country.

Yuan told Xinhua that he once debated about the issue with a businessman, who argued that the emergence of more villas catered to the taste of growing high-income groups.

"I do admit that there is a market reason for more villas, but is it reasonable now that there are still so many rural migrant workers living around the villas, striving so hard to earn three meals a day? What will the public think of the villas?" asked Yuan.

He was even sharper when talking about some local officials who took the advantage of their political positions to enjoy golfing.

"I wouldn't play golf, as most of Chinese people are far from such a luxurious living standard. Nor could I afford it," he said.

Criticism over the yawning rich-poor divide, put forward in Yuan's way or another, has helped make the government sober and alert, observers said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, at a panel discussion of NPC deputies, urged local officials to bear in mind "three senses", namely the sense of crisis, sense of being public servants and sense of frugality.

Hu expects the "three senses" to propel officials at various levels to keep a pioneering and enterprising spirit, serve the people heart and soul and lead the masses to achieve new progress in reform, opening-up and the socialist modernization drive.

Yin Jizuo, an NPC deputy and also president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that some officials, with none of the "three senses", have become indulged in superficial achievements and ignorant about lurking troubles, given the country's rapid economic development.

"Actually, no matter what achievements China has achieved, they can not afford to be divided by a 1.3-billion population. There are still a lot of problems waiting to be solved," said Qu Jun, vice director of the Shanghai municipal educational department and also an NPC deputy.

He considered the Shanghai social security scandal a typical reflection of the lack of "three senses" among some local officials. The scandal led to the step-down of the city's Communist Party chief Chen Liangyu, the most high-ranking official ever sacked in the past decade.

Just as the two sessions were going on in Beijing, a coal mine accident killing 47 in Xinzhou City of north China's Shanxi Province highlighted work safety again. And officials were lambasted for the dereliction of duty in supervision.

The Xinzhou coal mine safety bureau was reported to have " borrowed" more than 2 million yuan (256,410 U.S. dollars) from local coal mine bosses for expanding office buildings and buying cars, but turned a blind eye to the illegal operation of dangerous mines.

These brazen officials deserve more condemnations than those greedy and irresponsible coal mine bosses for frequent accidents, said some NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members.

Institutional loopholes, such as slack criteria for official recruitment and absence of supervision over the supervision system itself, may easily cause corruption, said Ma Yuxiang, a CPPCC National Committee member and dean of the politics and law school of the Northwest University for Nationalities.

Other criticism concentrates on food security, energy saving and medical services, and about one third of NPC deputies expressed complaints on these issues, as revealed by the 518 motions submitted to the NPC annual session's secretariat.

More "unpleasant voices" will help the government remain vigilant over potential crises during a rapid development, which has not come by easily, Qu Jun said.

Source: Xinhua

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