Virtual China deeply engaged as annual legislative session starts_Politics—China Economic Net
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Virtual China deeply engaged as annual legislative session starts
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-03-06 15:30

When China's legislators and political advisors gathered in the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing to discuss key state affairs, another gathering was taking place in a virtual "Great Hall."

An online forum, set up by, the website of Global Times, an affiliate of the People's Daily newspaper, for the annual legislative session, is named "the Great Hall of the Netizens."

Internet users from across the country come to express opinions on issues from corruption to the reform of public hospitals. Netizens from the same province even set up sub-forums as the real Great Hall has meeting rooms named after provinces.

The biggest issues at the virtual hall are housing prices, the wealth gap, medical reform and education.

"Twilight" put forward a long post suggesting the legislators and political advisors pay attention to the imbalance of education services in rural and urban areas.

"One of the indications of the imbalance is that the salaries of school teachers in remote villages are really low but, in big cities, the pay is very decent," the post said. "The government make this issue a priority."

Also, hundreds of thousands of messages have sprung up on the instant-messaging site of, a major Chinese portal, to comment on hot issues.

Yan Qi, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, the country's top political advisory body, said in her microblog Wednesday, "I didn't expected to have attracted so much attention merely one day after I opened my microblog.

"I read through the comments carefully. They indeed give an impetus to my work," she said.

The Internet has become a crucial way for legislators and political advisors to gauge public opinion in the country with 384 million users.

For the first time, the session's media center has set up a special room for deputies and political advisors to be interviewed online.

"I find it necessary to interact with netizens. Taking their advice, my motions and proposals will be closer to the real needs of the common people," said Zhang Yuanxin, a deputy of the National People's Congress (NPC) from Guangxi in south China. He was among five deputies who attended an online press conference at the media center Friday.

Si Quanyin, a provincial political advisor in northwest Shaanxi Province, submitted at the annual session of the Shaanxi Provincial Committee of CPPCC in January a proposal to stop overloaded trucks that often cause traffic accidents with serious casualties in the provincial capital, Xi'an.

The idea of the proposal first came from comments on his blog, he said.

"I put on a post on my blog to complain about accidents caused by overloaded trucks. Many people noticed it and left comments. Some suggested solutions to this issue and others urged me to develop it into a proposal," he said. "Encouraged by them, I investigated the issue and wrote the proposal."

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