Newcomers get chance to shine under NPC spotlight

Updated: 2013-03-04 07:15

By Zhao Yinan and Cui Jia (China Daily)

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"A brick sells at 2 yuan in the rural area, 10 times more than in my county seat. And the cost of building a house can be as much as 2,100 yuan per square meter, that's three times higher than at our place. I wondered when I was speaking with the herdsmen if it would be possible for the government to provide subsidies for them."

Although she has worked at a textile factory in coastal Zhejiang province since 2007, the young woman still finds it difficult to speak mandarin. The motion she will propose at the NPC was written first in the Uygur ethnic language and then painstakingly translated into mandarin with the aid of an electronic translator.

Rehangul is planning to conduct more research during the coming 12 months to help her better perform her duties. "I have an inherent advantage as a grassroots deputy. There are some things that the public doesn't like to tell the officials," she said.

Newcomers get chance to shine under NPC spotlight

Rehangul Yimir translates her proposal into mandarin from the Uygur language with the aid of an electronic translator. Photos by Cui Jia / China Daily


Five years ago, Hu Xiaoyan, Zhu Xueqin and Kang Houming made headlines by becoming the first migrant workers to be elected as NPC deputies. Each of them represented more than 80 million migrant workers and, as deputies, they were elected to provide a voice for those who have made a major contribution to China's dynamic economic growth, but have somehow been left behind in the process. Zhu has been re-elected for this year's congress.

Han Dayuan, a law professor at Renmin University of China, said the changes to the NPC framework will contribute to rural-urban integration and encourage farmers to participate in political events.

"It may also help push forward reform of the hukou," he added, referring to China's household registration system, which can often put migrant workers at a disadvantage when attempting to secure health services or education for their children.

Chen Weilan, a former vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Governance, said she hoped the newly elected grassroots deputies will not be overcautious or crippled by nerves, and will feel confident about speaking out.

"They might not be familiar with political issues in daily life, but they can prepare thoroughly by taking classes or reading books before the session begins to better perform their duties at the meeting."

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