Apart from the Communist Party, China has eight other political parties. But unlike in Western systems, they are not opposition parties trying to win elections and replace the ruling party. Rather, they serve the Communist leadership in a consultative and supervision capacity. To understand what exactly the parties are working towards, and how they function as a whole in Chinese politics, CCTV reporter interviewed one of the members of the CPPCC. [Special Coverage]
He cannot cast a vote in the National People's Congress, nor can his proposals become legally binding. But as a CPPCC member, Mr. Liu Muren believes his work in the top political advisory body can change China, slowly, but surely.
"This year my proposal is about raising the status and income of rural teachers, and creating better mechanisms of rotating teachers between rural and urban schools. That's a very important task, because in many poor regions, fewer and fewer teachers choose to work there. That seriously blocks social mobility for children," Mr. Liu said.
Liu is a university president in one of China's poorest regions, Guangxi, where one out of every 9 people live under the poverty line. The over five million impoverished population reside in mountainous rural areas.
Liu says he spent years on the field study for the proposal, and will raise it at CPPCC meetings in the coming days.
His proposal last year on improving rural residents' property rights triggered major public debate, and has now become part of a nationwide Chinese policy.
"Many of our proposals reflect the political cause of our party. For example, I'm a member of China Democratic League, which pursues better education for people. So my proposal combines the cause of my party with my personal work and experience," Mr. Liu said.
Every March, the CPPCC and National People's Congress, which is China's top legislature, meet in Beijing.
Unlike motions from legislators, Liu's proposals in the CPPCC are not legally binding whether adopted or not. They only serve advisory purposes for the Communist Party.
But Liu says their "soft" check on the government is a necessary complement to the lawmakers' "hard" check.
"In China, there are a lot problems that cannot be resolved overnight by a law or a document. But it doesn't mean there should be no pressure on the government at all. Someone has to keep ringing the alarms. And that's what we are working for," Mr. Liu said.
Looking ahead, Liu still expects a bigger role for the political advisory body, particularly a role of supervision. He says one proposal after another, they try to set the wheels of change in a huge country in motion.
Each March, over 800,000 CPPCC members like Liu Muren gather in Beijing from across the country for the annual "Two Sessions". What they say here will not just be discussed and debated during the meeting, but will be vigorously reported by the media. And some members will not hesitate in offering sharp comments on the work of the Communist Party. Many say CPPCC members are enjoying a growing freedom in their political consultations and supervision.