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Pushing for change is deputy's responsibility in supervision


03-09-2017 13:55 BJT

Full coverage: 2017 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

(Source: CGTN)

By CGTN reporter Han Bin

China's Constitution states that all administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the state are supervised by the People's Congresses. The government says the country should be ruled by law. So how do lawmakers supervise the government's work? And how do they see dissenting votes at the annual session? Han Bin talks to NPC deputies who have voted for or against, and who say that society needs an open mind and critical thinking.

The question is simple: Have you ever voted no?

For China's nearly 3000 deputies, reviewing the government reports and making suggestions are the major forms of supervision.

Although dissenting voices in the NPC are still very few, many see them as normal practice and a key mechanism in the checks and balances. There’s been rising consensus not to simply obey or follow.

Lawyer Li Dajin, who is also an NPC deputy, says what’s behind the changing attitudes toward dissenting votes, is a responsible exercise of deputies’ will and their sacred rights.

"Voting for or against or abstaining at the NPC is not a new topic, but a legal right protected by the Constitution. I don’t care whether my vote will make big change to the result, but I care about my vote clearly representing my opinions," Lawyer Li said.

Li Dajin says he has cast his vote against or abstained on certain reports in almost every session. For him, voting against is not a complete rejection of government decisions, but to push for better performance.

"For example, when I voted no on the Budget Report, I wanted to express my dissatisfaction, to draw the government’s attention to correct the problems, rather than ignore them or even abdicate responsibility. Another example: today it’s rare that any candidate can get unanimous approval. Although voting against may not prevent this candidate from being elected, the message is the questioning of and expectations on him or her, to do a better job, by using our voting rights," Lawyer Li said.

Li Dajin says Chinese society needs to be more open to different voices. He also says being critical is easy, but what’s really needed are the wisdom and solutions that can make a real change.

Today, there’s nothing extraordinary in voting against or abstaining during the annual political meetings. Decades ago, it would have been unthinkable. But there’s still a long way to go.

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