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China's congress follows the script, literally

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BayCityProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-12-07 10:04 PM
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China's congress follows the script, literally
Gee who's Congress does this remind you of??
Chinese government officials get upset when foreigners describe their parliament, the National People's Congress, as a "rubber stamp" institution.

But even the most enthusiastic booster of democracy with Chinese characteristics could hardly deny that the NPC meeting now under way here is let's put this politely scripted.

Scripts are everywhere, from the 35-page text that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao read out at the opening plenary session on March 5, reviewing government policies, to the short manuscripts that local officials read aloud, their noses buried in their papers, at provincial side meetings.

Nor is there any need for advance copies of these speeches, when they are distributed to reporters, to bear the caution customary in the West, "Check against delivery."

There is no danger that any speaker at a National People's Congress is going to throw out any extemporaneous remarks.

Improvisational skills are not highly valued.

This makes for rather stilted debate. In fact, few foreigners would recognize proceedings at the NPC as a debate at all.

Take the March 7, meeting of the delegation from Guizhou, a fairly undeveloped province in southwestern China that grows tobacco and sugar cane, at which deputies were scheduled to debate the 2007 government work program that Mr. Wen had presented two days earlier
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