Absence no hurdle to Liu's CPPCC position

Updated: 2012-03-05 08:04

By Lei Lei (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Despite being absent from the annual CPPCC session again, star hurdler Liu Xiang is still considered a responsible CPPCC deputy by his colleagues.

"Liu asked for leave due to preparation for the London Olympic Games, which is the most important event for him this year," said Hu Jiayan, deputy sports minister and a member of the CPPCC sports group.

"We don't encourage him to stop training only to attend this session. That would be 'putting the incidental before the fundamental.' Liu was selected as a CPPCC deputy due to his excellent performances on the track. Attending the session should not affect his training."

Due to his outstanding performances, Liu, the former men's 110-meter hurdles Olympic and world champion, was selected as a CPPCC National Committee deputy in 2008.

He missed the first plenary session that year as he competed in the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Spain.

One year later, Liu, who withdrew from the Beijing Olympics due to a severe foot injury, missed the first part of the second session of the top political advisory body as he was in rehabilitation in the United States.

He submitted his first proposal while attending the third session in 2010, although he asked for leave again for the latter half to attend a competition. His proposal involved better treatment for sports coaches.

Last year, Liu attended the fourth session from beginning to end for the first time.

Liu is now training in Germany in preparation for the World Indoor Championships, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from March 9 to 11. It is seen as an important preliminary event for him en route to the London Olympic Games in July.

His frequent absences from the CPPCC sessions have drawn criticism from the public, with many saying he is not qualified to be a CPPCC deputy since he can't fully perform his duty.

However, all the other deputies from Liu's sports group support him.

"Liu asked for leave through the formal process", said Hu. "We all support him."

Before the group discussion started on Sunday morning, Liu sent a text message to Hu, expressing regrets for not being able to attend the annual session, and he has already submitted a proposal.

"It's a great pity that I have to be absent from the Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th CPPCC and cannot participate and discuss government and political affairs with all the members of the sports group," Liu said in the message.

"I will work hard in my training to contribute to the two sessions with my good results on track."

According to Hu, this year's proposal from Liu involves quality education for athletes.

"Liu has made great progress in terms of being a qualified CPPCC deputy," said another deputy from the sports group, Gao Jian, the former director of China's Gymnastics Administrative Center.

"Liu has a strong sense of responsibility in participation and discussion of government and political affairs," Gao said.