While China’s critics cast aspersions on the proceedings of the Two Sessions, the annual political event in Beijing made an impressive mark and served China’s vital interests. The annual plenary consultations of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are conducted in the month of March, which, with time, has become China’s ‘key political season’.
The Two Sessions, commonly known as ‘Lianghui’, are attended by over 5,000 delegates in which the NPC has representation from provinces and regions whereas the CPPCC comprise prominent individuals from Chinese civil society, retired elders, business leaders, scholars, academics and luminaries from across China.
From China’s perspective, the Two Sessions make a perfect blend to carry out the assessment of what has been and what has not been accomplished in the immediate past and set short- to medium-term goals for the future.
The concept of the Two Sessions, which was institutionalised in 1978, evolved on the similar lines as that of any parliament of a functional democracy though with a fairly different selection or election mechanism. The CPPCC, like an upper house, has an advisory function for the government and discusses a host of issues ranging from economy, religion, sports and health to foreign policy and prepares proposals for the government’s consideration. The NPC bears a resemblance to a lower house in any democracy, and has members not only from provinces and autonomous regions, but some of them are chosen on the basis of their professional credentials as well.
There was a growing global interest in the proceedings of the Two Sessions as the world was eager to see the outcome of the event and wished to know which direction China heads and what is there in it for the global good. China in 2020 was the only major economy that not only effectively mitigated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but also registered positive growth towards the end of the last year and crossed the $15 trillion GDP threshold.
Because of its remarkable achievements, the world looks up to China for a meaningful role towards the global good. The world eyed the top legislature and political advisory bodies to come up with plans to cope with challenges the world is currently faced with.
The Two Sessions essentially consider and review issues that relate to China’s domestic plans and its regional as well as global policies. On the domestic level, there are areas China would like to address on priority such as law-based governance, social security, rural revitalisation, anti-corruption, environment, financial risk prevention, education system, housing, digital lifestyle and social governance. On the global level, dealing with the ever-evolving pandemic and its devastating fallout and international economic cooperation are important areas that the world has pinned hopes to and expects China to extend a helping hand and play a positive role.
During the Two Sessions 2021, the 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) along with the 15-year development blueprint was adopted, emphasising on high-quality development, expansion of GDP, social development, efforts on reform and innovation, resource efficiency, scientific and technological advancement, education and improved quality of life. China also focuses, as part of its new economic strategy, on technological self-sufficiency and expansion of domestic demand.
Fairly boastful for the Two Sessions would be that China made a huge leap from being an impoverished country to becoming the world’s second largest economy in merely seven decades. A happy moment for the Two Sessions would also be that China at home focuses on modernising the economy based on emerging technologies and expanding domestic markets.
Yet a proud moment would be to see China’s expanding global influence. This is a huge success of the Chinese system of which the Two Sessions are an important component. In the global watershed moments, China appears to be well-positioned to pursue what the Two Sessions think China must, with all the resources at its disposal.
The writer is director, China-Pakistan Study Centre at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and is the author of ‘Creating Shared Futures, Pakistan-China: A Journey of Trust and Friendship’.
This content was originally published here.