New platform offers lawmakers easier access to latest policy and training
National lawmakers have been given easier access to study and training, thanks to an innovative move initiated by China's top legislature.
Considering that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made face-to-face activities harder to organize, the National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, opened an online academy last year as a new platform for NPC deputies to study and attend training.
Comparing the move to "studying in the cloud", Guo Zhenhua, deputy secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee, said the academy has also met the needs of many deputies who wanted to learn about the people's congress system and the latest legal policies in a convenient way.
The academy has organized five online workshops, each with a different theme, to help NPC deputies.
For example, the academy invited a team that specialized in drafting China's Civil Code to speak about major and innovative clauses to deputies through livestreaming after the fundamental civil law was passed last year.
"It was a popular workshop among deputies, as team members familiar with every detail of the code not only gave an in-depth interpretation of the law, but also talked about controversies in legislation and how they were finally solved," Guo said.
The academy has also made and uploaded online courses on its own or by working with other authorities, "because in this way deputies can access the content they most want to learn at any time and any place", he added.
Guo said the 13th NPC Standing Committee has attached greater significance to the study and training of NPC deputies since 2018, as ensuring NPC deputies can fulfill their duties is key to implementing and developing the people's congress system.
The NPC Standing Committee has offered four workshops on fulfilling lawmakers' duties, which were attended by more than 1,500 deputies, he said, basically covering all newly elected primary-level deputies.
The approximately 3,000 national-level deputies are from various areas and industries, including farmers and workers. That composition is determined by the nature of the people's congress system and is also an advantage of the political system, according to Guo.
Therefore, helping NPC deputies－who come from the people, represent the people and finally serve the people－to fully understand the system as well as what rights and obligations they have is a necessity, as their improved duty performance will ensure that people are the masters, he added.
Zhu Guoping, an NPC deputy from Shanghai, participated in several online and offline workshops. She said they helped her understand how to fulfill duties through the rule of law.
"I watched some videos online, such as those introducing major revisions of laws and how NPC deputies helped local residents solve problems, which saved me time and also offered me a reference for work," she added.
To get closer to local residents, she established a contact station beside a road in Shanghai's Hongqiao subdistrict, "as in this way, people can find me and tell me their problems in life or work more easily", she said.
"I have to know issues and difficulties that people most care about and want to solve, because I come from the people and the goal of being a deputy to the NPC is to serve the people," Zhu said.
She said diversifying channels to solicit public opinions, understanding what people most need and taking the time to learn the country's latest policies and laws are also necessary for deputies to play a better role in serving the people.