2012 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

Promoting China Abroad

( 2012-March-14 09:15:04)

An Interview with Zhao Qizheng, Member of CPPCC's National Committee and Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee


By staff reporter ZHANG HUA


The annual session of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is one of the main political meetings in China and is attended by representatives from all walks of life. The major function of the CPPCC is to conduct political consultations and exercise democratic supervision as well as take part in the discussion and management of state affairs. During 2012 National Peoples' Congress (NPC) and CPPCC sessions, China Today held an interviewed with Zhao Qizheng, the member of CPPCC's National Committee and head of its Foreign Affairs Committee, to talk about CPPCC's foreign communication, China's public diplomacy and changes of China's international standing and role.


Everything Out in the Open


China Today: What is the difference between the CPPCC and congresses in other countries? Are the NPC and CPPCC influenced by lobbyists behind the scene like other countries?


Zhao Qizheng: CPPCC is not a legislative body. Its role as a political consultative body means the ruling party and the State Council are obliged to consult the CPPCC about important policies and major elections beforehand. CPPCC participants will follow the implementation and results of these policies and elections and make proposals for amendments if necessary accordingly. Relevant authorities must take its opinions seriously and act promptly. This is how the political consultation works at the CPPCC.


As for democratic supervision, it is important that the CPPCC has the right to effectively supervise the behavior of the ruling party and the government. Each member is encouraged to give his or her own opinions at the annual session. It is not necessarily to reach an agreement before a proposal is put forward. Some people think the CPPCC has no voice because it doesn't have legislative rights. However, it is this that enables the CPPCC to avoid influence and control by certain interests.  


There are no so-called political persuaders in China. CPPCC members from the spheres of business, education, sport, culture and art all voice their opinions over the issues in their fields. They are not lobbyists and the comments and proposals they have raised are more profound and tangible than those put forward by political persuaders. This can be considered as one defining feature of the CPPCC.


Representing China's Public Opinions to the World


China Today: What kind of role does the CPPCC's foreign communication play in China's diplomacy? What achievements have been made in this aspect by this Foreign Affairs Committee? Were there any highlights and changes in CPPCC's proposals over China's public diplomacy in recent years?


Zhao Qizheng: The CPPCC's foreign communications is a significant element of China's foreign affairs. All of the 59 members of the Foreign Affairs Committee have relevant experience. Some of them are former ambassadors and diplomats while others are officials, businessmen and social personages who have been extensively engaged in international communication and cultural exchanges.


In the first year of the current Foreign Affairs Committee's term, three groups were set up to analyze public diplomacy, international economy and trade, international politics and the general international situation. It is clear that the CPPCC's foreign communication is a part of public diplomacy. We express China's perspectives on behalf of every group in Chinese society and the will of the people.

In the past four years we have organized a good number of conferences and published Public Diplomacy Quarterly in order to disseminate the idea of public diplomacy in China. We also wrote and published several books. They include Public Diplomacy and Communication between Cultures, which was translated into Japanese as soon as it was published and was well received in Japan.


We also organize various public diplomacy activities every year, such as sending delegations to visit governments, congresses, non-government organizations and enterprises in different countries.

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