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China legislative session starts today, govt attacks West

The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a political advisory body, will also open its plenary session Saturday.

Written by Zeeshan Shaikh | Beijing |
March 3, 2018 1:44:59 am
Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, CPPCC, Xi jinping, China Politics, Indian Express Australia has been roiled in the past year by allegations of a far-reaching Chinese government effort to infiltrate and sway national politics as well as Australia’s large overseas Chinese community. (Representational)

The annual session of China’s top advisory and legislative bodies will begin in Beijing from Saturday, where 11 proposed constitutional amendments, including the scrapping of presidential two-term limit, are to be ratified.

The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a political advisory body, will also open its plenary session Saturday. The CPPCC has 2,158 members who act as national political advisors for China’s executive, legislative and judicial organs. The purpose of the gathering is to share their insights on the prevalent political, social and economic issues that affect China. The group undertakes political consultations over various government policies.

The first session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the national legislature of China, will also commence from March 5. There are presently 2,980 deputies who have been elected by people’s congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and special administrative regions of China for a period of five years. These deputies will be deliberating a draft revision of the Constitution.

AP adds: A top Chinese government spokesman on Friday dismissed concerns over Beijing’s overseas influence as discriminatory, Cold War-era thinking, in a rare instance of a top official addressing growing negative sentiment in Western capitals, academia and media over China’s covert reach.

Wang Guoqing, spokesman for the advisory body to China’s ceremonial legislature, said Beijing’s ability to communicate to the world has grown along with its national power. But Wang said China’s efforts to showcase its “true image” have been held to a double standard and unfairly criticised.

Australia has been roiled in the past year by allegations of a far-reaching Chinese government effort to infiltrate and sway national politics as well as Australia’s large overseas Chinese community. Last month, FBI director Christopher Wray said US law enforcement was “watching warily” the activities of Confucius Institutes, Chinese government-funded educational and cultural centres in the US and other countries.

Wang said Western countries call their own activities “soft power” or “smart power” but decry similar efforts by China as laden with sinister motives. “We regret to see that for some people in the West, their bodies have entered the 21st century but their brains are stuck in the Cold War era,” Wang said.

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