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Economic Issues to Dominate China's Political Consultative Session

China's top political advisory body opened its annual plenary session in Beijing on Tuesday (March 3) afternoon, with economic issues poised to dominate the nine-day conference attended by over 2,100 delegates nationwide.

Proposing countermeasures to overcome the global financial crisis and the economic downturn would be the main task for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said its chairman Jia Qinling in his opening speech.

"Year 2009 is special, it is the 60th anniversary of New China and the CPPCC, it is also a crucial year to counter the fallout of a global financial crisis, and to realize new development for the Party and the Nation," said Jia, who is also the fourth ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The CPPCC national delegates comprised of politicians from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and eight other recognized parties in China, leaders of minority ethnic groups, representatives of various social groups and organizations, scholar and experts from various fields.

During the plenary session, the delegates would voice their views and concerns related to a wide range of issues - from legislative, policy making to developmental matters touching on social, economy and politics.

The gathering is also an event to exhibit China's ethnic diversity, as reps of various minority groups came dressed in traditional costume.

The CPPCC session opened two days ahead of the plenary session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress.

These two events, which run almost concurrently in Beijing through March 13, are commonly known as the Two Sessions (Liang Hui) in Chinese. Liang Hui is closely followed by the public and observers alike, as issues brought up in them impact the course of policy making in the country.

In outlining the main tasks for the CPPCC this year, Jia stressed the need to form special task forces to review economic problems and draft suggestions, especially on ways to enlarge domestic demand, maintain healthy economic growth, accelerate industry restructuring, and improve China's development model.

Also featured in his six-point work schedule was the need for CPPCC to explore friendly ties abroad, including publicity works to improve international understanding on China's political system.

In the coming days, CPPCC delegates would take turns to present their proposals. Last year, a total of 4,472 proposal were submitted. Among the suggestions subsequently being incorporated into government policies included the ones for micro-loans and funding for rural and agricultural development.

A day prior to the opening, CPPCC spokesman Zhao Qizheng had told a press conference that many delegates intended to raise questions over the four-trillion-yuan stimulus package introduced by the Chinese government late last year.

Proposals expected to touch upon the issue might include how to supervise spending under the stimulus package and avoid redundant projects.

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