Socialist consultative democracy, largely embodied by the political advisory system, should be raised to one of the priorities in China's political reform, political advisors said here.
Giving consultative democracy greater play will be the least risky and most effective way of pushing forward political reform in China, said Li Changjian, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body.
There are two major ways to represent democracy in China -- one is through elections, and the other is through consulting with people from different sectors to reach the maximum consensus, Li said in an interview with Xinhua.
Combining elections with consultations is part of the socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics, he said.
Li Junru, former vice president of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Party School as well as a national political advisor, told Xinhua that although there are many ways to realize a consultative democracy, the CPPCC is no doubt an effective one.
"In its 60-plus years of history, the CPPCC has gained rich experience in soliciting opinions from people in different sectors and producing proposals to the leadership for making decisions," he said.
Now the country needs more system-building efforts to guarantee that political advisors can fully exercise their duties, especially in presenting constructive opposition and supervising the CPC and the government in making major decisions, he said.
Efforts should also be made to expand direct communications between political advisors and common citizens, he said.
Meanwhile, the CPC should fully understand the significance of soliciting opinions from the public before making decisions, Li said.
As long as the public is informed and expresses their opinions on public affairs, the socialist democracy will be improved, he said.
A report delivered by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the 18th CPC National Congress noted for the first time in the history of the CPC that the country should improve the socialist consultative democracy system.
The CPPCC has national and local committees. Its national committee currently has more than 2,000 members and holds an annual session.
Members of the CPPCC are representatives of the CPC and non-communist parties, persons without party affiliations and representatives of people's organizations, ethnic minorities and various social strata.
Compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, returned overseas Chinese and specially invited people are also represented in the CPPCC.
Via the CPPCC, they put forward proposals, which are not legally binding, to offer comments and suggestions to people's congresses and the government on the country's major political and social issues.