Zhu Guoping, a 66-year-old resident of downtown Shanghai, likes to chat with others in her community on issues related to their lives.
As a deputy to the 11th, 12th and 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, Zhu gathered opinions in her community and brought those of great importance to the annual “two sessions,” where lawmakers and political advisors nationwide pool their wisdom on issues concerning national development and people’s livelihood. At an NPC session in March 2014, Zhu drew attention to overcrowding at hospitals in big cities.
Attendees of that session were Zhu’s fellow deputies of the Shanghai delegation, including Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, listened attentively to Zhu’s remarks and asked questions from time to time for clarification.
Xi has always been a good listener to the stories shared by deputies from the primary level.
Over the past decade, Xi has made it a point to always communicate with NPC deputies and members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the “two sessions.”
During deliberations and discussions with them, Xi always inquired about the people’s life and paid great attention to even the slightest details.
When taking part in the Shanghai delegation’s deliberation at the fifth session of the 12th NPC in 2017, Xi told the deputies that public affairs should be managed through extensive discussion with the people, and that everyone should participate in the management.
In recent years, significant improvements were made in China’s legislative system to ensure the voices of ordinary people are better conveyed to legislators.
In 2015, the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee established one of the first legislative outreach offices in Shanghai’s Hongqiao subdistrict, where Zhu lived and worked.
Through this office, the opinions of local residents gathered by legislators were relayed to higher levels and taken into consideration during the legislation process.
Since its establishment, the outreach office has helped solicit public opinions on many draft laws and revisions, such as the law on support for veterans and the revision to the Law on the Protection of Minors.
Residents participated in all kinds of matters from the making of national laws to community affairs like installing new elevators and solving parking problems. “This is what we call ‘whole-process people’s democracy,’ which has become an inseparable part of people’s everyday life,” Zhu said.
Xi first put forward the concept of “whole-process people’s democracy” during an inspection tour of Shanghai in 2019. He said China is on the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics, and people’s democracy in China is a type of whole-process democracy.
Zhu was present when Xi made the remarks. “Witnessing our wishes reflected in laws and regulations is inspiring for us,” she told Xi. “It is a direct experience of people’s democracy and has enhanced our awareness as masters of the country.”