Published on Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:17
Mr. Qiu Guoyi, member of the national CPPCC gives an address to ACE students on the history and function of the CPPCC
his year’s ACE program features the world’s first-ever Model CPPCC event, uniting nearly 300 top Chinese and American students to bring their leadership and critical thinking skills to bear on major social issues facing China and the international community.
The event formally began on July 24th, 2012 with a speech from the General Secretary of the Zhigong Party Central Committee, an overview of the event and the first round of student discussions.
Setting the stage
On July 24th, the Ameson Foundation kicked off the 6th Annual ACE Program’s “Model CPPCC” event with a speech from Qiu Guoyi, the General Secretary of the Zhigong Party Central Committee and a member of the national CPPCC. Because many students’ understandings of the Chinese political system were relatively low, the Ameson Foundation began the event with a comprehensive overview of the history and function of the CPPCC in the Chinese political process to ensure the students understood the context in which the committee operates.
“I’ve addressed leaders of all levels, I’ve addressed the public, but never before have I addressed a group of excellent students like this”
According to Mr. Qiu’s introduction, the CPPCC was founded in September of 1949 and for the first five years of the People’s Republic of China served as the primary legislative body for the entire government. The Committee includes representatives from all 9 Chinese political parties as well as independent members, and works very closely with the National People’s Congress and the Politburo Standing Committee.
American student Mary Carmack asks a question after Qiu Guoyi's speech
In addition to the national-level CPPCC, there are provincial, prefectural, county and municipal CPPCC organizations, totaling over 2000 members nation-wide.
American student Aaron Goodman reported “it was really interesting to learn how the CPPCC influences policy decisions at all levels even though they don’t have any direct power. This is a very interesting aspect of Chinese culture that I want to understand more.”
After the speech the students were given time to ask questions of Mr. Qiu. American student Mary Carmack took the opportunity to ask how the CPPCC works to involve community members in its decisions.
An overview of the event
Later, Wang Yao, the leader of the 5-person team of Model CPPCC experts that Ameson invited to assist in the event, took the stage to explain the details of the event to the students.
First, students are divided into teams. Each team identifies a social issue and conducts research into the root causes of the problem, its social cost, relevant policy, and relevant examples from other cities or countries. Then through discussion and research, the students prepare a full report on the issue, and suggest possible ways to address the problem through policy. If there is already legislation on the problem, the students identify how the legislation or enforcement can be improved. If no legislation exists, the students propose possible policy solutions for the problem.
After each team’s report is submitted, there will be a series of elimination rounds before a final winner is selected from the 10 original proposals. The winning proposal will be submitted to the real CPPCC for consideration.
Chinese and American students enthusiastically discuss their research proposal
That afternoon, the students met with their groups for the first time to discuss their proposals. The proposals included ideas on how to create an environmentally-friendly “closed loop” cycle for the disposal of garbage, how to increase protection for China’s cultural heritage, how to improve the quality and management of retirement homes in China, how to increase the efficacy of food safety regulations, and many more.
The students engaged in energetic discussion of the issues. The American students also enthusiastically gave their opinions – to the delight of the Chinese students, some of them were even able to use Chinese to communicate their ideas.
The first elimination round will take place tomorrow, July 27th, 2012. In this round, 5 of the 10 proposals will be advanced to the semi-finals. More information will follow as the event unfolds!