|The first session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 3, 2013. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, started its annual session in Beijing Sunday.
About 2,200 members of the 12th CPPCC National Committee from different sectors across the country will discuss major issues concerning the country's development during the session, scheduled to conclude on March 12. New leaders of the top advisory body will be elected at the session.
At the opening meeting in the Great Hall of the People, CPPCC National Committee Chairman Jia Qinglin delivered a report on the work of the CPPCC National Committee's Standing Committee over the past five years.
Jia said China had overcome "severe challenges" and made "extraordinary achievements" in reform, opening up and socialist modernization over the past five years, and the CPPCC had carried on, made innovations in, and consolidated and developed its cause.
The CPPCC fully played its role in coordinating relations, pooling strengths, making suggestions and proposals to the central leadership, and serving the overall interests of the country, Jia said.
He said the CPPCC had made important contributions to the country's development in various fields such as scientific development, social stability, China's reunification and foreign exchanges.
The CPPCC should better play its role as an important channel for promoting consultative democracy by enriching the forms of consultation and improving the consultative system, he said.
"We should actively assist the Party and government in the work of getting the people to voice their demands, coordinating their interests, and safeguarding their rights and interests," Jia said in his report.
He said the political advisory body should maintain a close contact with CPPCC National Committee members from Hong Kong and Macao to get them to play positive roles in building their special administrative regions.
Exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan should be enhanced to cultivate more common interests for peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations, Jia said.
He also noted that the CPPCC should help deepen China's relations with other countries through new channels and high-level visits.
While reviewing the achievements made by the CPPCC over the past five years, Jia said the political advisory body had "written a new chapter in its history".
Jia said the CPPCC, always focusing on the central task of economic development, made a large number of high-quality comments and suggestions on issues pertaining to economic and social development.
The CPPCC also actively participated in social development and management and gave impetus to cultural reform and development, Jia said.
Over the past five years, a total of 28,930 proposals had been submitted by the CPPCC National Committee members, and 26,583 of them had been handled as of Feb. 20, according to Wan Gang, vice chairman of the 11th CPPCC National Committee.
Top Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli attended the opening meeting.
Founded in 1949, the CPPCC consists of elite figures of the Chinese society who are willing to serve the think tank for the government and for the country's legislative and judicial organs.
As an open forum where the ruling CPC, non-Communist parties and people without party affiliation discuss state affairs freely and on an equal footing, the CPPCC has been the manifestation of China's socialist democracy.
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