Reform is urged for CPPCC selection
A professor says the current system is cumbersome and a waste of resources
A Communist Party School professor has proposed making the nation's top advisory body more effective in supervising the government by reforming the system of selecting its representatives.
Shen Shiguguang suggested the current selection process was cumbersome and that many Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates could not discharge the duty of democratic supervision entrusted to them by the government.
Professor Shen, who teaches in the party school of the Shanghai municipal party committee, made the claims in the Study Times, the official publication of the Central Chinese Communist Party School.
Because the CPPCC representatives were not elected democratically, many had no notion of openness, fairness and transparency, he wrote. Some were ill-qualified and lacked enthusiasm or a sense of responsibility in exercising democratic supervision.
Following a quota system purportedly representing the interests of all social groups, the nominations and bargaining behind the current selection process take more than six months before the list is sent to the CPPCC standing committee for approval.
'Not only is the process horrendously wasteful in terms of resources, it encourages corrupt horse-trading for some people to get nominated,' Professor Shen wrote.
When compared with the progress of the movement towards self-government in the villages and in some urban communities, the nomination process of the CPPCC looked anachronistic, he said.
The CPPCC was established when the Communist Party was fighting to establish its rule by seeking the co-operation of non-communists sympathetic to its cause. It consists of representatives of the Communist Party, eight democratic parties, various people's organisations, ethnic groups, people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, returned overseas Chinese and specially invited individuals.
The size and the composition of the CPPCC have changed over the years. The number of national delegates has increased from 559 in 1950 to 2,196 last year. The total number of delegates, including all those at provincial and local levels is 505,000. Communist Party members now have 40 per cent of the seats, down from 60 per cent in the early days. In 1999, the CPPCC created a special 'economic' category for 82 private entrepreneurs. Some became members of the standing committee in the ninth CPPCC last year.
As the quota expanded for scientists and educators, the overall educational level of the representatives has improved. But the quality of CPPCC representatives remains an issue, especially at local level.
But Professor Shen concludes that the CPPCC provides an important channel for political participation and a platform to express interests in an increasingly pluralistic society.