Challenging mission ahead

Updated: 2014-03-04 07:54

(China Daily)

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Both the national people's congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will feature shorter sessions this year. But that will in no way lighten their load.

On the contrary, NPC delegates and CPPCC members will find there are more, thornier topics to be discussed this year. Not just because these are the first whole sessions of the national legislature and political advisory body under the new leadership, one that is eager to see changes in almost every aspect. But because this will be a year of severe tests for China and the Chinese people.

The economy has held center stage in the discourse about China's well-being for decades. But even more so this year, because last year's slower growth, while defying pessimistic prior projections, adds a sense of uncertainty and raises the question of whether and how the country's new leadership will prevent the economy from sliding further and make the adjustments it aspires to.

No deliberation on economic pursuits will be complete without reflecting on our problematic approach to development. The toxic haze covering Beijing serves as a fitting reminder that we must change course. Discussions on ways to anchor and refine our economy can help navigate a more sustainable way forward, and the NPC and CPPCC must act to make the pledges of pollution control executable.

The frequent dismissals of high-ranking officials have rallied public opinion around the Xi Jinping-Li Keqiang duet. Yet as Xi has clearly indicated, the crackdown on corrupt individuals needs the support of "locking powers up in the cage of systems". Systems that make sure those in positions of power, as Xi put it, are not willing to, dare not to, and cannot abuse their power. The NPC and CPPCC should set fine examples in the national discourse on institutionalizing corruption control.

By displaying a strong national will to take on vested interests, the two sessions may inject an essential sense of justice and fairness into further reforms, which will win crucial public favor for their implementation.

The heinous killings at the Kunming railway station on March 1 have also raised a heavy topic for the sessions. There has to be an operational national strategy for homeland security, and this strategy should not be limited to ex post facto crisis control.