Reluctant delegate speaks out

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 March, 2010, 12:00am

Taking a seat on the nation's top political advisory body might sound like a ticket to success and a proof of one's social status, but it seems not everyone is interested in privilege and prestige.

A Beijing maths professor who says he first learned he was a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegate from TV reports has called for candidates to be notified and to allow them a chance to refuse.

'I found out only when the list was broadcast on television. No one has ever asked me if I consented to being [a delegate],' Ding Weiyue told the China Youth Daily.

Ding, 65, is a professor of mathematics at Peking University and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He has been appointed as a delegate to the CPPCC every year since 2001 as a representative of the China National Democratic Construction Association.

However, he told the paper the association had never asked him whether he wanted his name put forward. This, he said, demonstrated 'loopholes' in the selection process.

Ding submitted a proposal for a new regulation stipulating that potential delegates be informed before they were nominated.

'What if someone isn't willing to take up [the post]?' Ding told the paper. 'You have to give people the right to disagree.

'I believe you should have to produce proof that the nominees have shown they are willing. You have to respect the nominees' democratic rights.'

Though the CPPCC is often criticised as being a vast talking shop that rarely exercises any real power, seats on the conference are a much-coveted honour in face-conscious political circles.

However, Ding is not alone in questioning how his name ended up on the honour roll.

Tianjin delegate Shen Kuilin also told the China Youth Daily that he was stumped when someone asked who had nominated him.

'It's because I hadn't been notified through any official channels beforehand,' Shen said.

But most delegates were unlikely to want to turn down the honour, Shen added.