Gleanings From China’s Two Meetings

March 18, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

News Analysis

The 10-day-long annual event known as the Two Meetings—the convening of China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress (NPC) and the advisory body called the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC)—has come to an end. 

According to many Chinese, the meetings were meaningless and accomplished nothing. But public opinion aside, at least three items decided and commented on during the two meetings—legalized secret detentions, Wen Jiabao’s delivery of yet another (empty) reform speech, and Bo Xilai’s dismissal—point to the fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is in crisis mode. 

In the opinion of many Chinese, expressed on blogs and microblogs, the two meetings are meaningless and don’t accomplish anything. 

Yang Hengjun, a blogger and writer said on his Facebook page: “The CPPCC session ended amid high praises. Every year the two sessions are ‘united’ and ‘successful.’ They have created something of a world record: there has never been a bill that did not pass in its 63-year history. The aim of the two sessions should be to assist the government and prevent it from doing wrong things. But any kind of decision by those in power was approved and enthusiastically recognized by the delegates. What’s the use of having this kind of meeting? Here’s what I think of the two meetings: they are the most successful failure in the world!”

Secret Detention Legalized

One thing the regime accomplished on the last day of National People’s Congress (NPC) was to amend Chinese criminal procedural law to allow Chinese police to detain certain suspects in secret locations for up to six months.

“Similar [secret detentions] already exit, but it’s now been affirmed through this manner, and turned into an open law, rather than just a trend,” Beijing Rights Lawyer Tang Jitian told New Tang Dynasty (NTD) TV.

Click this tag to read The Epoch Times’ collection of articles on the Chinese Regime in Crisis. Intra-CCP politics are a challenge to make sense of, even for veteran China watchers. Here we attempt to provide readers with the necessary context to understand the situation.

Under the new law, police have to inform the suspect’s family within 24 hours, but need not disclose the location or the reason for the detention. 

Like every year during the convening of the two meetings, the regime increased control and surveillance of human rights and other social activists all over China. 

One activist who went missing is Xu Yongzhi, the director of the Open Constitution Initiative, and an independent candidate for the Beijing Post and Telecommunication University constituency. His office has also been forced to shut down, VOA said on March 13

Security personnel in Beijing were also detaining many petitioners who had come to Beijing in hopes that officials or media would be more open to hear their grievances during the convening of the two meetings. 

Xi Guozheng, a petitioner from Shanghai, told The Epoch Times that on March 8, when he arrived at the Beijing TV station to petition, there were already over 100 petitioners lined up. He said a group of security guards came and dragged all the petitioners onto two big buses parked at the side of the road and took them to Jiujingzhuang into detention. 

Jing Yuehua, a female petitioner, said she was taken to Beijing South Railway station to be returned to her hometown. While waiting there, she witnessed three security guards brutally beating a fellow petitioner, 62-year-old Lu Yajuan, who had already been detained for three days. 

Lu was merely asking an officer when she would be able to go home. Suddenly, three officers rushed to Lu, and beat her on the head and hand, breaking her arm, according to Jing. 

Wang Kouma, another petitioner, said she saw many posters put up by the state in public places during the two meetings that said, “Respect Human Rights.” But when petitioners came to Beijing, they were monitored by stability maintenance personnel. 

“It’s even worse now than the ‘one guard every five steps’ regulation in 1949, when the CCP first took over Beijing,” Wang said. “If the CCP doesn’t change the political system, it won’t be able to do anything about the systemic corruption and injustice,” she added.

Wen Jiabao’s Reform Speech

On the same day the secret detention law was amended, Wen Jiabao gave the closing speech at the NPC. Wen said there was a need for political and economic reform, and for improvement in social justice; without it, tragedies similar to the Cultural Revolution could happen again.

It was the same kind of speech he has given many times in the past, and no one seems to take it seriously. But it’s the kind of speech that lands an ordinary Chinese citizen in secret detention or worse.

After the session, talking to journalists, Wen went even further, saying the revolutions in the Middle East should be respected, and “this trend toward democracy cannot be held back by any force!” 

Such statements, completely out of step with the regime’s actual policies, are just “empty talk and meant to distract,” Tang Baiqiao, head of the New York-based Democracy Academy of China, told NTD.

“From my own point of view, there is simply one sentence: the Communist regime must go,” Tang said.

Netizen Fang Congming said: “We have given the government 63 years, such a long time, to listen and reflect. Have you seen any fundamental changes? Putting our hope in the leaders to become enlightened, improve, and change into a benevolent government, is like asking a tiger for its skin.” 

Continued on the next page: Bo Xilai Scandal