It looks almost democratic, but don’t forget it’s China –

 News  Photos 2006 03 13 China-Inside From USA Today (link):

Beyond the trappings of a lawmaking body, however, the NPC offers little in the way of democracy. People’s deputies are not actually chosen by the people, but rather by the Communist Party. The NPC has never rejected a bill put before it by the government.

“I don’t know who my people’s deputy is, and I don’t know how to find him,” says NPC expert Cai Dingjian, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law. “Their addresses and telephone numbers are secret, people can’t find them. If I ask the (NPC) office, they say, ‘They’re secret.’ ”

The Communist Party still pulls the strings in China’s rubber-stamp legislature. In the last 20 years, the NPC’s role has gradually grown, along with its influence, Cai says. “But if the relationship between the NPC and the party is not dealt with well, it is hard for the NPC to play its supervisory role.”

Wen’s reluctance to go before reporters shows that he “considers the media as a propaganda organ, not a news organ, and media workers should therefore follow his instructions,” says Li Datong, former editor of Freezing Point, a newspaper supplement that was shut down this year by government censors. “I never watch the NPC session; they always say empty words. Who chose them? They are all government and party appointees. That is the nature of Chinese ‘democracy.’ ”

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