Deputies to China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), come from all walks of life, including many from grassroots positions.[Special Coverage]
Meet the migrant worker, the street sweeper, the lab technician and the cadre from a remote ethnic minority township. They all work with the system to steer policy changes that can have far-reaching effects on the lives of ordinary citizens.
WORKING FOR WORKERS
Zhu Xueqin is one of China's 282 million migrant workers. She works in Shanghai and has been an NPC deputy since 2008.
The first suggestion she submitted to the NPC was to include maternity insurance in the social security system.
"At the time, many pregnant migrant workers I knew skipped prenatal checkups because they had to pay the fees out of their own pocket," she said. "I felt their pain and helplessness."
Her suggestion led to research by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and, in 2013, the social security system was expanded.
After becoming an NPC deputy, Zhu became something of a celebrity among migrant workers in Shanghai. She kept receiving complaints from her peers about unpaid wages and persistently campaigned on their behalf. Then, in 2011, the NPC Standing Committee amended the Criminal Law to include punishment on intentional non-payment of wages. This is one achievement Zhu feels extremely proud of.
"I just want migrant workers to get their paychecks on time and preserve their dignity," she said.
Zhu has submitted more than 30 suggestions and one motion to the NPC.
From rural Anhui Province, Chen Laying, 50, came to the costal province of Zhejiang in the year 2000 looking for work. She has been a waitress in a hotel, a cleaner in a factory, and most recently a street sweeper.
Since becoming an NPC deputy in 2013, she has made it her task to raise awareness of the "garbage business," and campaigned for a better deal for sanitation workers.
Seeking out genuine problems, raising questions, and offering solutions are just some of the ways legislators fulfill their responsibilities.