China Pledges Anticorruption Battle at National People’s Congress
The Christian Science Monitor reports on the ongoing NPC meetings in Beijing:
This year Wen’s take-home message was that the government would step up the fight against corruption, a tacit acknowledgment that the widespread problem has a direct bearing on the Communist Party’s grip on power. Wen also said transparency should empower the people and the media to oversee the government.
Yet for the roughly 500 reporters representing overseas news organizations in Beijing, it’s not the words of the premier that matter so much, but the words of the low-level politicians from across China gathered in the capital for the next two weeks. “What we can get out of the NPC is listening,” Erling says.
A few years ago, for the first time, the foreign press were invited into panel discussions that sometimes hint at what’s to come. In 2007, for instance, one such panel introduced Xi Jinping. Then a part of the Shanghai delegation, Mr. Xi now is widely expected to be named president in 2012.
Veterans say they watch for high numbers of symbolic “no” votes in what’s understood to be the predetermined election of delegates. Reporters also are on the lookout for the occasional real surprise in what legitimately is dubbed a rubber stamp parliament for its predictability. There was 1998, for instance, when Qiao Shi, then chairman of the standing committee of the NPC, was ousted in an unexpected twist to an otherwise expected government shakeup.
See also “Profile: China’s National People’s Congress” from BBC.