When the China chief executive of the US investment bank JPMorgan was first nominated as a delegate to China’s top political advisory body, he had a hard time explaining to his employer exactly what the role involved.
“After a lot of back and forth and explanations from me, the internal legal team eventually concluded that it would be similar to being appointed to the [British] House of Lords, although the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is indeed something unique to China,” laughs Fang Fang, 45, who is also vice-chairman of Asia-Pacific investment banking at JPMorgan.
That is not quite how China’s leaders like to present the CPPCC, held alongside the National People’s Congress, the country’s parliament, which opens in earnest in Beijing on Saturday.
They prefer to describe it as “an organisation of the patriotic United Front of the Chinese people” and “an important forum for promoting socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics”.
In today’s China, Mr Fang’s very different roles – as a western banker and as a political adviser to the Chinese government – are, in fact, not contradictory. Rather, they reflect the increasing influence of business interests on the country’s political process.
The CPPCC is supposed to work like an upper house, offering suggestions for legislation and advising the NPC on new rules, but in practice all big policy decisions are decided separately by the ruling Communist party and approved by the parliament.
The two bodies were once supposed to represent the masses, with delegates organised into the categories of “peasant, worker or soldier”, but today they are populated by film stars, bureaucrats and billionaires.
Yet CPPCC membership still has political benefits, Mr Fang says.
“It opens doors to the country’s top leaders because ... delegates can send their proposals to any ministry or provincial government and request meetings with relevant officials, and that government entity is evaluated on how responsive they are to such proposals and requests.”
“There is an enormous machine working behind the scenes to ensure CPPCC requests and suggestions are all taken seriously and answered by the relevant authorities,” he says.
根据发布中国年度富豪榜单的“胡润百富”(Hurun Report)的数据，在2987名全国人大代表中，最富裕的70位代表的财富总和为4931亿元人民币（合750亿美元），中国首富、杭州娃哈哈集团(Hangzhou Wahaha Group)董事长宗庆后也在其中。
The richest 70 of the 2,987 delegates to the NPC have a combined wealth of Rmb493.1bn ($75bn) and include China’s richest man, Zong Qinghou, chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, according to the Hurun Report, which publishes an annual China rich list.
China’s annual parliamentary pageant has become the busiest and most exclusive event on the social networking calendar in China.
One CPPCC delegate, who asked not to be named, says: “Over the next 10 days or so [until the annual sessions wrap up in mid-March] all of the delegates will be eating two breakfasts and three dinners and frantically networking. It’s a very tiring process.”
The 2,000 or so positions in the CPPCC are highly prized by provincial mandarins, executives of state-owned enterprises and, increasingly, private entrepreneurs and celebrities who seek a proximity to power.
A decade ago, the Communist party decided its survival depended on being more representative of modern society and made the historic move to allow capitalists into the party and the legislative bodies.
Today, the list of CPPCC delegates includes people and companies instantly recognised by many outside China.
香港的许多豪门子弟、新鸿基地产(Sun Hung Kai)、九龙仓(Wharf Holdings)、瑞安房地产(Shui On Land)和新世界发展(New World Development)等大公司的代表，以及汇丰(HSBC)和德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)的高管或前高管，都是政协委员。
Scions from many of Hong Kong’s richest tycoon families and largest companies, such as Sun Hung Kai, Wharf Holdings, Shui On Land and New World Development, as well as senior, or former, executives from HSBC and Deutsche Bank, are all delegates.
The national advisory body is mirrored throughout the country by provincial and local level consultative bodies, which include numerous executives from foreign companies operating in China.
If a foreign factory owner is a local CPPCC delegate and has a problem with his power supply or sewerage system, he can request a face-to-face meeting with the local mayor and ask him to fix his problem directly – something that many foreign businesspeople would find difficult.
In recent years, there has been discussion about creating new official categories of delegates to reflect modern Chinese society, including lawyers, bankers and businessmen who were more likely to be persecuted than represented when the CPPCC held its first session in 1949.
But in spite of those calls, the CPPCC remains a who’s who of the country’s rich and powerful and mainly a place for Chinese and even foreign businesses to lobby senior politicians.
2011-03-10 15:07 编辑：kuaileyingyu