Chinese President Xi Jinping has underscored the importance of better listening to the people’s voices by making good use of the internet and other channels, after millions of public suggestions were made on the work related to the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a recent instruction on studying and absorbing netizens’ suggestions and views on the work related to the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
The Chinese president stressed better respecting public opinion and following the aspirations of the people, according to Xinhua. Noting that the 20th CPC National Congress is an important event on the Party and the country’s political agenda, Xi said the collection of public opinion via online platforms is an effective way for Party members and the general public to contribute ideas to the country’s development and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
It is also an example of the whole-process people’s democracy, Xi noted. Successful practices in the solicitation of public views on the Party’s national congress should be summarized to offer a reference for better implementation of the Party’s mass line under new circumstances, Xi said.
More than 8.54 million suggestions have been submitted from April 15 to May 16 across all platforms – People’s Daily, the Xinhua News Agency, China Media Group and Xuexi Qiangguo – ahead of the 20th CPC National Congress, which is scheduled to be held in the second half of 2022.
Xuexi Qiangguo is an app for people, especially Party members, to learn about Party theories and news on political affairs.
Soliciting ordinary people’s opinions reflects the CPC’s principles of serving the people, relying on the people and achieving whole-process people’s democracy, Zhang Shuhua, director of the institute of political sciences of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Online suggestion mechanism is efficient for the people. It also expands their participation in political affairs, Zhang noted. Latest data from China Internet Network Information Center showed the number of netizens in China has surpassed one billion.
Eight categories of topics were set for public suggestions on the work related to the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress – the Party leadership, new development theories, reform and opening-up, whole-process people’s democracy, rule of law, culture, people’s well-being and ecological civilization.
Opinions will be sorted and analyzed, and some may provide a direct reference for the work of the 20th CPC National Congress, while others may be adopted by government departments as a reference for decision-making, Zhang noted.
Underscoring the concept of listening to people’s voices ahead of the 20th CPC National Congress – which will be held at an important conjuncture as China embarks on a new journey toward socialist modernization – is equivalent to underscoring the importance of democracy for the CPC’s governance and development, Chen Chengxin, another research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Understanding public opinion helps decision-makers to formulate policies reasonably and solve practical problems that citizens are concerned about, which is how China pursues democracy in reality. On the contrary, Western democracy – where politicians can wantonly manipulate public voices – has fallen to election farces and political shows, Zhang noted.
Nowadays, it is no surprise to see news of Western politicians speaking fabulous words in front of microphones to comfort their people, but they cannot help breaking out in curses even before shutting off their microphones, Zhang noted.
Using online platforms as channels to solicit public opinion has been a long-time tradition for the CPC to listen to people’s voices on a broad range of other occasions, such as the formulation process of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), discussions of the Civil Code, and in the daily work of local governments, Zhang noted.
Chen, who also participated in studying the messages left on the board on the People’s Daily, told the Global Times that the message board on this platform in the past 16 years has addressed more than 3 million pieces of questions raised by netizens from across the country.
Every message will be read, sorted and delivered to relevant departments, Chen said, citing examples of effective problem-solving through the online channel, including relocation or reconstruction of schools in rural villages and telecom fraud cases.—GT