Experts: Two Sessions will focus on major challenges in public health and economic recovery
After a two-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China's top political advisory body and top legislature opened their annual sessions in Beijing on Thursday and Friday. What's at the top of the agenda? And how much of this session will be devoted to the pandemic?
Jia Qingguo, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC's National Committee, said that due to extraordinary circumstances, the Two Sessions this year has been shortened with more safety provisions but the agenda is full and many issues will be discussed.
Wang Huiyao, President of the Center for China and Globalization, pointed out the annual political event has grabbed the world's attention after months of fighting the coronavirus. And the opening of the annual sessions is symbolic in that it shows the Chinese government is back to normal leading the country forward.
Wang said the Two Sessions will summarize what has been achieved last year and what will the government be doing this year, covering a range of topics. One topic that is on top of the list to be discussed is how to fight the pandemic continuously while expanding economic activity.
Both Jia and Wang mentioned that public health and economic recovery will be the main focus this year. They said members will bring forward proposals on government investment in the public health system, investment in anti-virus drug development, methods to revive the economy with tools such as vouchers to spur spending, international cooperation, poverty alleviation and so on.
Besides COVID-19 related proposals, Wang pointed out this year is the final year for eradicating extreme poverty and the government is not slowing down on that target.
Commenting on China's performance on containing the virus, Wang and Jia acknowledged that facing an unprecedented health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, China had a steep learning curve and there is room for improvement in the public health system. Meanwhile, China has achieved a lot of progress and gained much experience in the past few months, and it has proved that it can work with international organizations effectively to combat the common enemy.
However, Wang also expressed his frustration on some rhetoric in the international community.
"Initially China received a lot of support from international community, including the United States and many other countries. China in return helped other countries as well. But somehow the narrative internationally was not right because there was a lot of conspiracy theory and scapegoating."
Wang suggested to focus on people-to-people help and encouraged the society, the private sector, NGOs, think tanks, associations to come out and communicate.
"China has really contained the virus, now China is revived, China's two sessions are in full swing, so these will be looked back as good signs. And Chinese economy is recovering, I think that will be a really strong support to the global economy. So in the end, people will understand there's a lot of things China has done for the world," Wang concluded.
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