Li Ruihuan says internal criticism highlights need to assess if forum is best representing society

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 12:00am

The head of the CPPCC has called for a re-examination of the top political consultative body to invigorate members' interest and have different sections of society better represented.

Li Ruihuan, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said changes to various interest groups had to be studied and sectors had to be divided in a 'practical and reasonable' way.

In his closing speech to delegates yesterday he said there had been criticisms within the body that some of the existing sectors represented by the CPPCC were overlapping.

There were also complaints that some newly emerging groups, such as private businessmen, were not effectively represented.

'A reasonable division of sectors would boost enthusiasm for political participation and political debate within individual sectors,' Mr Li told delegates at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

CPPCC delegates now come from 34 sectors including the so-called non-Communist parties, women, science and technology groups, and youth and sports bodies.

Mr Li said delegates from different sectors had to improve the way they informed the public of their opinions so that their messages got across clearly.

'To protect the supervisory power of delegates, it is important to expand delegates' rights for information and boost the depth of participation,' said Mr Li.

The chairman also raised the issue of rampant corruption among officials, saying the mainland should develop its own system of checks and supervision. He said this would 'enable its people to regularly, timely and systematically prevent or adjust deviations or distortions of [officials'] exercise of power'. He said only such a system could guarantee that the people's power always stayed in their hands. However, Mr Li did not say what sort of system would best suit the criteria.

Widespread corruption had blocked reforms and aroused public discontent, he said. He urged delegates not to sacrifice the interests of the general public when pursuing their own careers and personal wealth, and to safeguard the image of the CPPCC.

Several CPPCC members have been implicated in graft scandals during the past year.

Mr Li also urged delegates to be more tolerant of criticism.

In the new century, Mr Li said officials should be aware of international hostile forces which have tried to curb China's development.

The country should also prepare for competition with its upcoming entry to the World Trade Organisation, he said.