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China collects online opinion for annual national political meetings

Security personnel carry items in Tiananmen square as the area near the Great Hall of the People is prepared Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

The Xinhua News Agency, China’s state-owned agency, has recently been conducting an online poll which is open to all Internet users in China to collect opinions about issues they care most about, in preparation of its upcoming annual two sessions or “lianghui” starting next week in Beijing.

While the online poll is still ongoing, income distribution, environmental protection, anti-corruption, housing prices, and strengthening of Party self-discipline have emerged as the top five key words picked up by the netizens so far.

It will be the fifth sessions for the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, and the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body. Starting on March 3 and March 5, law makers and political advisors from across the country will discuss opinions that they have collected from local people concerning politics, education, culture, social welfare and LGBT rights.

The law makers also known as “people’s deputies” and political advisors or the CPPCC members are elected by local voters and will gather in Beijing for half a month to discuss the opinions some of which may be turned into legislation.

The ongoing online poll conducted by the Xinhua News Agency shows the government is trying to hear more voices from the country’s online community and make it easier for people to submit opinions for the policy makers.

At a seminar of the annual NPC Standing Committee earlier this month, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, said that efforts should be made to “clear the channels of opinion to take the work of the NPC to a higher level.”

According to the online poll, law enforcement, social welfare, education equality, food and drug safety, and retirement policy are also among the top 10 topics, while foreign exchange rate, foreign policy and manned space flight are the three least cared topics so far.

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