> Dialogue > Dialogue

Scholars articulate visions of China’s future at annual political assembly

| 2013-03-19 | Hits:
 CPPCC members in a panel discussion On March 3rd, the first session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opened at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, unveiling the curtain of the annual NPC and CPPCC sessions. The sessions often run for more than 10 days; this year’s sessions will last until till March 17th.  Members to CPPCC represent all sectors nationwide and are responsible for submitting proposals to assist government decision-making. According to the official categories of the 12th CPPCC members, about 69 of 2,237 members total are from the social science, (however, there are likely more scholars from the social sciences intermingled with other sectors). This year, scholars’ proposals covered a much wider range of issues than at previous CPPCCs. 2013 NPC and CPPCC sessions have unusual significance. Many CPPCC members have commented to reporters that this year’s annual gathering occurs right at the crucial point of China’s development. 2013 is the first year of the 18th CPC term and a year of leadership transition. “The NPC and CPPCC sessions in every year are important, but this year’s sessions are particularly important,” Yu Jinrao, a research fellow at the Institute of World History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said. “This year is a beginning of a new development stage in China, and social development in China is also going through a crucial period. Therefore, its significance is remarkable.”   Proposals from academia show concern and engagement with people’s wellbeing Proposals submitted by the CPPCC members cover a wide stratum of issues, including welfare, rule of law, culture, education, and even academic theories, among many more. In particular, scholars in the area of social sciences and humanities pay more attention to major current theoretical issues as well as current social affairs in China, actively contributing advice on policy issues within their respective fields.  Sun Zhengyu, a CPPCC member and professor at Jilin University, submitted a proposal on developing philosophical theories in China. Sun explained that only by constantly uniting Marxism with contemporary practice, specific qualities of the current time period, and national characteristics could the vitality of Marxism be preserved. She fears that Marxism could degenerate into decay if it does not follow this prescription.    The academic appraisal system has been identified as a critical for academic development. Ke Jinhua, a CPPCC and professor at the Social Sciences in China Press submitted a proposal on further improving the appraisal system within the social sciences which stressed three aspects: close attention to peer experts’ reviews; due weight to professional editors’ reviews ; and inclusion of citation rate as a major reference for evaluation. On the last point, the proposal emphasized that placing important on the degree to which articles are cited elsewhere would help improve editors’ academic caliber and the ethic of academic journals.    As a professor of literature at CASS, Bao Deming, who is also a CPPCC member, submitted a proposal emphasizing the role and use of literature in Chinese society.  In the 2008 CPPCC session, Bao delivered a speech in which he suggested the public read more classic works. This year, he continued to elaborate on the value of classic literature for social management and development. According to Bao, “building a beautiful China and realizing the Chinese dream, is not only reflected in various forms of material wealth, but is also reflected in harmonious society and beautiful spirits.”  Societal welfare,  especially that of marginal groups, is the foremost area addressed by proposals. Li Lan, a CPPCC member and research fellow at the Institute of Linguistics at CASS, submitted a proposal raising the issue of work injury security for construction workers. Ke Jinhua delivered proposals regarding families losing their “only child” and later stage cancer patients. She suggested providing both financial support and emotional care to families losing their “only child”; for later stage cancer patients, she suggested that hospice care be provided.  Hou Xinyi, a CPPCC member and vice dean of the Law School at Nankai University, focuses on rule of law. As a judicial expert, he urged to establish a “Constitution Day” in order to spread a constitutional spirit into public.   Proposals draw strength from academic research After submitting 10 proposals last year, Wang Ming, a CPPCC member and professor at Tsinghua University submitted 16 at this year’s conference. As director of the NGO Research Center at Tsignhua’s School of Public Policy and Management, Wang emphasized issues of social organization, charity and population policy.  “For the sixteenth proposals that I submitted to the CPPCC this year, if add on sections of theories and argumentation, many of them can get publicized as products of academic research.” Wang Ming said that he plans to publish a collection of his proposals from the past ten years in a book entitled Advisers Say (《建言者说》).  In 2012, the 11thth CPPCC had assessed over 20,000 proposals submitted by its members in the preceding five years. Of these proposals, 281 were evaluated as “excellent”; many members from the social sciences sector won this distinction. For instance, a proposal led by Bao Mingde advocating the “strict control of rare earth excavation and exportation” led by Bao Mingde was among them. Differing from the senior CPPCC members mentioned above, Ma Min, party secretary of Central China Normal University, is a first time attended the annual CPPCC session. He summarized his experience as “three mores” and “three trues.” The three mores stand for “listen more, think more and advise more,” he explained, while the “three trues” refer to “true feeling, true intention and true words.” On issues relating public vital interests, Ma suggested that CPPCC members should have their own independent views and thoughts and be able to make independent analyses, so as to propose appropriate and pertinent suggestions and perform the great responsibilities with which they have been entrusted by the people.   The Chinese version is appeared in Chinese Social Sciences Today, No. 422, March 4, 2013   Chinese link: http://www.csstoday.net/Item/52011.aspx   (Translated by Feng Daimei)