Pub­lic health, na­tional and eco­nomic se­cu­rity top agenda

Is­sues to be ad­dressed as in­ter­nal, ex­ter­nal risks grow

Global Times - - FRONT PAGE - By GT staff re­porters See also Pages 3, 4, 6, 7

China’s top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sory meet­ing opened its an­nual ses­sion on Thurs­day in Bei­jing, mak­ing ar­range­ments for work in 2020 re­gard­ing six as­pects and ad­dress­ing the most press­ing is­sues in­clud­ing pub­lic, na­tional and eco­nomic se­cu­rity.

Mean­while deputies and mem­bers to this year’s two ses­sions are urged to ad­here to the mind-set of the “bot­tom line” as in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal risks con­tinue to grow, pos­ing un­prece­dented chal­lenges for China in pur­su­ing its so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment tar­gets.

A to­tal of 2,057 top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sors at­tended the 3rd ses­sion of the 13th CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee that opened at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in down­town Bei­jing on Thurs­day after­noon, and the ma­jor­ity of them wore masks given the de­mand for con­tin­u­ous epi­demic pre­ven­tion and con­trol work.

Be­fore the ses­sion started, all the at­ten­dees paid a silent trib­ute to mar­tyrs who died fight­ing COVID-19 and com­pa­tri­ots who lost their lives dur­ing the epi­demic.

This year’s two ses­sions started on Thurs­day af­ter a 78day de­lay due to COVID-19. Suc­cess­fully hold­ing the meet­ings also sig­naled the sig­nif­i­cant progress the coun­try has made in fight­ing this ar­du­ous bat­tle when most other coun­tries and re­gions are still fac­ing grow­ing num­bers of daily coro­n­avirus in­fec­tion cases.

Wang Yang, chair­man of the CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee, de­liv­ered a work re­port of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee to the ses­sion, high­light­ing a se­ries of tasks the coun­try’s top ad­vi­sory body com­pleted in 2019 and ad­dress­ing the work for 2020 in six as­pects while urg­ing po­lit­i­cal ad

vi­sors to ful­fill their du­ties in achiev­ing a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects.

There are some key words for this year’s CPPCC ses­sion. Se­cu­rity, safety and re­cov­ery all top the agenda of Chi­nese pol­i­cy­mak­ers and ad­vi­sors. Some stressed that more work should be done in safe­guard­ing pub­lic health, na­tional se­cu­rity and se­cu­rity in the oper­a­tion of the econ­omy.

Pub­lic health

Par­tic­i­pants to the coun­try’s most im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal event dur­ing which the govern­ment sub­jects it­self to pub­lic over­sight and pools the wis­dom of na­tional leg­is­la­tors and po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sors who are ready to seize the op­por­tu­nity to re­view and re­flect on China’s re­sponse to COVID-19 as of now, mak­ing pro­pos­als to im­prove the coun­try’s over­all emer­gency warn­ing and re­port­ing sys­tem in or­der to bet­ter cope with a pos­si­ble resur­gence of coro­n­avirus cases and fu­ture in­fec­tious dis­eases.

In reflecting on the short­com­ings and loop­holes within the coun­try’s pub­lic health sys­tem, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the top-down emer­gency re­sponse sys­tem, many NPC deputies and CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee mem­bers pro­posed to es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism for di­rect com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the cen­tral and lo­cal gov­ern­ments over ma­jor pub­lic health emer­gen­cies and to im­prove the cur­rent in­fec­tious dis­ease re­port­ing sys­tem, as the heav­ily in­vested sys­tem, set up af­ter the SARS out­break in 2003, was widely be­lieved to have failed to func­tion prop­erly dur­ing the early stages of the COVID-19 epi­demic.

Some ad­vi­sors also sug­gested that the Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion come up with a de­tailed warn­ing sys­tem re­gard­ing in­fec­tious dis­eases, es­pe­cially un­known dis­eases, and clas­si­fi­ca­tion stan­dards of warn­ings on dif­fer­ent lev­els, and then in­clude them in China’s in­fec­tious dis­eases pre­ven­tion law.

Na­tional se­cu­rity

Safe­guard­ing na­tional in­ter­ests and top­ics on Xin­jiang, Tai­wan, Hong Kong have also ap­peared in the work­ing re­port China’s top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor Wang Yang de­liv­ered at the open­ing cer­e­mony. Wang urged all mem­bers to make ef­forts in play­ing their roles, in­clud­ing or­ga­niz­ing con­sul­ta­tive meet­ings cen­tered on the unity and progress among all eth­nic groups, sup­port­ing CPPCC mem­bers in the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR) in stop­ping vi­o­lence.

Over the past year, CPPCC mem­bers also firmly safe­guarded core na­tional in­ter­ests – re­leas­ing solemn state­ments con­demn­ing the US House and Se­nate pass­ing bills re­lated to China, in­clud­ing one on the HKSAR and one on North­west China’s Xin­jiang Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

Ac­cord­ing to an on­line poll made by peo­ be­fore the two ses­sions, “na­tional se­cu­rity” is one of the 10 top­ics that re­spon­dents care about the most. In re­sponse to how to strengthen peo­ple’s na­tional se­cu­rity con­scious­ness, 23 per­cent of the on­line re­spon­dents agreed to “build na­tional se­cu­rity con­scious­ness via ed­u­ca­tion” and 17 per­cent chose to “have more ac­tiv­i­ties in en­hanc­ing con­sci­en­tious­ness and re­lated prac­tices.”

“Na­tional se­cu­rity is con­sid­ered a top pri­or­ity to na­tional in­ter­est. As tra­di­tional and non-tra­di­tional se­cu­rity threats have been in­ter­wo­ven to­gether, the US is us­ing the coro­n­avirus to fre­quently chal­lenge China’s sovereignt­y and in­tegrity in re­cent months,” said Li Wei, a coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­pert at the China In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions. Li noted that the US wants to main­tain its hege­monic po­si­tion in the world, and when faced with China’s rise, it has played its cards on Tai­wan, Xin­jiang, Ti­bet and Hong Kong with the hope to dis­turb China’s na­tional devel­op­ment and to con­tain China. A Ti­bet-re­lated bill is also re­port­edly about to be passed by the US se­nate soon.

Eco­nomic se­cu­rity

This year, as the Chi­nese econ­omy is still grap­pling with what of­fi­cials call “un­prece­dented” chal­lenges from the global COVID-19 pan­demic, law­mak­ers and pol­icy ad­vi­sors called for more ef­forts in help­ing the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery, par­tic­u­larly in re­gain­ing consumptio­n con­fi­dence which has suf­fered a real heavy blow amid the out­break. It is cru­cial to whether the two goals – poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and mod­er­ate pros­per­ity – in achiev­ing the great re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion will be ful­filled this year.

Of the three ma­jor sec­tors – in­vest­ment, consumptio­n and for­eign trade – the big­gest im­pact from the COVID-19 epi­demic would hit consumptio­n, as many cit­i­zens still don’t dare to go out nor con­sume while ba­sic re­cov­ery re­gard­ing this would oc­cur in Oc­to­ber, said Li Daokui, a prom­i­nent econ­o­mist at Ts­inghua Univer­sity and mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

How­ever, there are sev­eral “bot­tom lines” that China has to ad­here to. For ex­am­ple, in the face of a com­pli­cated ex­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment, the coun­try has to pre-plan to en­sure the se­cu­rity of eco­nomic op­er­a­tions, whether it’s about en­sur­ing crude oil sup­ply, soy­bean and grain sup­plies or fend­ing off ma­jor risks re­gard­ing fi­nan­cial mar­kets as well as pro­tect­ing over­seas listed com­pa­nies from uni­lat­eral ju­ris­dic­tion and sanc­tions im­posed by coun­tries like the US, Li said.

This year’s “two ses­sions” bears spe­cial mean­ing as the coro­n­avirus epi­demic com­pli­cates the na­tion’s ef­forts to erad­i­cate ab­so­lute poverty and com­plete build­ing a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects.

Photo: Xin­hua

A minute of si­lence is ob­served at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 3rd ses­sion of 13th Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence Na­tional Com­mit­tee on Thurs­day after­noon to mourn the vic­tims of the COVID-19 and those who sac­ri­ficed in the fight against the epi­demic.

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