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China:Parliament ridiculed for its fancy proposals

The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's parliament of more than 2,000 delegates, ended in Beijing on 12, March, with pledges to help maintain steady and relatively speedy economic development in 2009.  Top national leaders such as Hu Jingtao, Premier Wen Jiabao were present at the closing ceremony. (Xinhua)

The conference, according to the ruling Communist Party (CCP), is one of the most important institutions which carry out Chinese-style democracy, that is multiple-party co-operation led by CCP. However, the conference has always been viewed as simply a rubber stamp with its sole purpose being to give endorsement to decisions already made, thus giving semblance of ‘popular’ support for  government programs.

However, what is really popular on the internet in China these days is to highlight and satarize some of the most astonishing, impractical and absurd proposals made by the delegates.

Blogger Song Shi-nan (宋石男) gives a list of such ‘amazing’ proposals on his blog. In the appendix, he notes an interesting news:

本次全国政协会议,给每位委员配发了一台笔记本电脑,以实现无纸化政协会议。据称,这是为了响应国家节能减排的号召,节约纸张和环保.

In the conference, each delegate received a laptop computer containing the order of business to symbolize a paperless office, in response to the government's call to save paper and be more environmentally friendly. The number of delegates who really made it for business, however, is perhaps worthy of a separate debate.

全国政协十一届二次会议副秘书长、民革中央专职副主席修福金认为,本次大会将会期缩短了两天,而且还用电脑替代了原来大量的纸张,这表明从政协开始已经过简朴的生活,开始了艰苦奋斗。

The Vice General Secretary of the conference, also the vice president of one of the eight democratic parties (=decoration ) in China, Xiu Fujin (修福金), claimed that the meeting had not only been shortened by 2 days but had also avoided enormous paper consumption by using the computers. It signified that the Consultative Conference, managed in a more frugal style, had slashed its budget and some 5 million RMB allocated for paper use had been saved.

Accordingly, 5 million RMB on paper use will thereby be saved.

However, netizens soon found that the so-called frugal measure actually costs 7.5 million RMB . Some more industrious blogger went even further and calculated how much paper was represented by the 5 million RMB and found that each delegate would have received 36,363 sheets should the 5 million have been spent! Blogger Uncle Y pokes fun of the ambition of ‘saving money’ by saying, “what a paper mountain the conference would have been!”

At a time of global economic downturn, a notable theme of the meeting is to bolster the economy, and the delegates didn't disappoint us taking much care of the issue. But their proposals are sometimes  unintentionally ironical and hilarious.

Professor Yan from a university in Shanghai walked into the conference hall, wearing a set of Han clothing, a traditional costume that has a thousand-year history. Along with the somewhat bizarre dressing-up he came up with an even more erratic proposal

Dressing in the traditional Han clothing would stimulate the economy.

His proposal was named “economic-cultural industry of  Chinese traditional clothing”.

On NetEase, a popular online discussion board, one comment was:

我一开始还以为他是开制衣厂的,再看不是,那我就搞不懂了.这位代表是不是很少出门啊.我的天啊,我真的不敢想象把国家大事交给你们讨论会是怎么样的结果.

I originally thought he is a clothing factory manager or something.But then I found out he is not. It really confuses me. The delegate seems to have sledom ventureed out of his house to know about a bit of the real world. Oh my God, I feel it hard to imagine how it will be if we just let these people discuss the national issues.

Other than clothing, another delegate, Zong Licheng (宗立成), proposed,

全国政协委员宗立成:确立国花可刺激经济

Picking a national flower would help stimulate economy.

Blogger Song Shinan seems to be thrilled by so creative an idea. He comments:

骂国骂是不是也可刺激经济增长?那就来一嗓子——卧槽泥马!

Likewise, shouting out our national curse can also help stimulate economy, right? Then, I am ready—-Grass Mud Horse! (A dirty pun, but covered by New York Times because of its implication)

More proposals have been presented:

张亚忠:大学生去卖猪肉不是一件坏事

Zhang Yazhong: It is not a bad thing for college students to sell pork.

赵超代表:建议设立子女养老社会保险金制度

Zhao Chao: Children should hand in money into parents’ pension account.

In response to the proposal, a netizen questions:

赡养老人是应该的,但我想问一下,我每年要交3万多税,这三万多的税被用到哪里去了?

Indeed, we ought to take care of our parents. But I would just like to know where my thirty thousand tax taken annually has gone?

Another proposal concerns college students again, who are particularly troubled by job losses this year.

上海人大常委会原主任龚学平:恢复大学五年制教育第一年军训

Gong Xueping from Shanghai: Restore college to be 4-year, with the first year in military training.

Song Shinan laughs at the idea:

为缓解就业,干脆把战线再拉长一点,小学9年制,初中5年制,高中5年制,加上大学5年制,硕士6年制, 博士7年制,这样博士毕业差不多44、5岁,即使找不到工作,失业10来年也就退休了.

Ok, let's give students even more time, to have 9 years of  grade school, 5 years of junior high, 5 years of senior high, then 6 years of masters, PhD for 7 years. Then, a graduate would be about 44, 45 years old; even if they can't find a job, they just need to endure another 10 years and then they can retire.

Ran Yun-fei, reviewing all these proposals and opinions, so categorized them:

疯狂言论、愚人提案、八卦愚乐.

Mad words, Fool's proposals, and foolish entertainment.

But why all these ridiculous statements and happenings could happen in a solemn and important conference? He said:

两会代表不经民选,不在代表来源、阶层分布、利益博弈、民众意愿等方面加以改进,两会不只是橡皮图章,而且是十足的笑料大世界。

The delegates are not elected by people. There is no consideration on where they are from, their distribution across industries, their conflict of interest or people's opinions. The conference is not only a rubber stamp, but laughing stock.

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