So much for representing the common man. If the proposals some of the 'people's deputies' have put to the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference this past week are anything to go by, they are badly out of touch. Take the plea to beat the Japanese at their own game - the art of flower gazing. Chen Junyu , a 90-year-old professor at Beijing Forestry University, drummed up support from 70 fellow scientists for a proposal to make the plum blossom and the peony China's 'twin national flowers'. Professor Chen said the beautiful but hardy flowers, which originated in China, were deeply rooted in national culture and represented the true spirit of its people. NPC delegate Liu Minghua suggested Han dynasty gowns be adopted as national dress at formal state functions. Why should officials be forced to wear cheap suits and slip-on shoes, he lamented, when their Japanese and Koreans counterparts could strut around in pretty, traditional garb? CPPCC delegate Li Hanqiu suggested the Olympic Games opening ceremony would be the perfect opportunity to educate the world about Niulang and Zhinu, mythological lovers who, tragically, became two stars separated by the Milky Way, allowed to meet but once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month - celebrated as one of two 'Chinese Valentine's days'. Since the Olympic ceremony would be held the day after the festival, why not give the lovers an extra day on Earth to wow the world with a charming tale of ancient Chinese passion, the delegate asked. However, the peony-and-plum bouquet for the most salient proposal goes to Bishop Liu Bainian , a vice-chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, who suggested a Bible be put in the hotel room of every overseas Games visitor. It would be the perfect way for China to demonstrate its passion for religious tolerance, he opined.