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More grassroots seats at Party congress

By Wang Huazhong in Beijing and Yang Jun in Guiyang  (China Daily)

08:31, August 15, 2012

Wang Jingqing (left), deputy head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at a news conference on Tuesday. Zhang Yu / China News Service

About one in three deputies who will take part in the forthcoming national congress of the Communist Party of China comes from the grassroots level and ordinary posts, a senior Party personnel official said.

A total of 692 Party members from the grassroots level will hold 30.5 percent of the seats at the 18th CPC National Congress, a 2.1 percentage point increase over the last congress in 2007.

That also means a 2.1 percentage point decrease in Party officials' representation, said Wang Jingqing, deputy head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.

Wang said grassroots Party members include miners, factory workers, bus drivers, environmental protection workers, medical personnel and bank clerks.

Moreover, 26 out of the 692 are migrant workers.

"The deputies represent the excellence of the Party, as well as the public's interests," said Wang.

According to Wang Guixiu, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, officials used to occupy 70 to 80 percent of the seats and would tend to turn the congress into a "Party officials' convention".

Cui Xiangqian, 41, one of the grassroots deputies from Southwest China's Guizhou province, said she was "thrilled when she was elected".

She works as a community worker at Bihai community in Guiyang, the provincial capital.

Enlisting someone like her "reflects democracy inside the Party", she said.

"The increasing number of grassroots deputies shows the Party's willingness to hear the voices of all walks of life and voices of people at different levels."

The latest official figure shows the Party had 82.6 million members by the end of 2011. A total of 2,270 deputies will attend the 18th CPC National Congress to be held later this year.

The oldest deputy is 96-year-old Jiao Ruoyu, former mayor of Beijing, while the youngest is 22-year-old Jiao Liuyang, a women's 200m butterfly gold medalist at the London Olympic Games.

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