Xi holds ‘substantive, relatable’ panel discussions at Two Sessions

By CGTN's The Point

China’s annual National People’s Congress (NPC) is not only just about work reporting, lawmaking, and electing leaders. Traditionally, it also provides China’s top leader with the moment to steer the thought process through interactions with national legislators and advisers.
On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping continued the panel discussion with the 13th NPC deputies from southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality at the first session in Beijing.
Victor Gao, global councilor at Asia Society, said on CGTN’s The Point (@thepointwithlx) that this tradition is not “symbolic but substantive.”
“President Xi visits NPC delegates and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference members... to engage in substantive discussion, solicit opinions, and comment on the questions they raise,” Gao said.
During the first half of the two-week long session, Xi spoke with legislators from east China’s Shandong Province, south China’s Guangdong Province, and Inner Mongolia, China’s northern autonomous region.
Edward Lehman, managing director at the Beijing-based law firm Lee & Xu LLP, said Xi’s visit to the Inner Mongolia was consistent with his own message about poverty alleviation in the “New Era” in which China vows to lift 30 million remaining people out of poverty by 2020.
Xi stressed that the poverty alleviation fight should be complemented by China’s rural vitalization strategy to improve the living conditions of farmers and herdsmen, Xinhua reported.
His rhetoric at such an occasion is also considered “folksy” and “relatable.”
“Here is a person who at one time lived on a farm . . . and [what he said] is relatable to the folks he was talking to,” Lehman said. It involves “genuine interaction and compassion.”
“When he speaks, he really speaks his mind to the people by using very folk language,” Gao suggested, attributing Xi’s charisma to his in-depth experience as a farmer and political career through crucial levels of Chinese government hierarchy.
The panel discussions also brought together political advisers from various non-Communist Party groups, including the China Democratic League, China’s Zhi Gong Party, and overseas Chinese who are members of CPPCC.
The Point with Liu Xin is a 30-minute current affairs program on CGTN. It airs weekdays at 9:30 p.m. BJT (1330GMT), with rebroadcasts at 5:30 a.m. (2130GMT) and 10:30 a.m. (0230GMT).