Recap: The Ameson Foundation holds world’s first model CPPCC event

Students from team 9 listen as their teammates present

T

he world’s first model-CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee) event, hosted by the Ameson Foundation, concluded on July 29, 2012. The event guided almost 250 students through the process used in real Chinese political organizations to identify social issues, formulate a proposal through research and discussion, and present the proposal for scrutiny by an assembly of their peers. Ten teams participated in the event, each crafting their own proposal with help from their class leaders.

The event began on July 24th when Qiu Guoyi, the General Secretary of the Zhigong Party Central Committee and a member of the national CPPCC delivered a speech about the history and function of the CPPCC.

Preparing their proposals

During the days that followed, the ten teams of students conducted research and each team prepared a 16-minute presentation introducing the problem, relevant policy and legislation, and clear suggestions for how the problem could be ameliorated. Many teams worked late into the night researching, writing and rehearsing their presentation, often staying in the classroom until 11 p.m. or later.

it was really interesting to learn how the CPPCC influences policy decisions at all levels through negotiation. This is a very interesting aspect of Chinese culture that I want to understand more.

CPPCC proposals are based in research and focus on issues that matter to the people. ACE students were encouraged to use a wide variety of channels to obtain information. Students took to the streets, knocking on doors and interviewing passers-by, conducting surveys in tourist sites, study trips to nursing homes, and interviewing relevant government officials.

Online research provided a wealth of information as well. Internet databases and blogs helped students to learn about relevant foreign and domestic legislation and draw lessons from similar cases in other cities or countries. Internet social media also provided a way for students to assess the importance of the issue to ordinary netizens, and collect feedback and suggestions.

Elimination rounds

 
 Semifinalists

Team 6 - Proposal that the government increase investment  to improve service in retirement homes
Team 5 Proposal to promote the reuse of textbooks
Team 4 Proposal to strengthen the protection and development of historical architecture
Team 7 Proposal to improve the management of trash sorting
Team 9 Proposal to improve the food safety management

 
On July 27th, the ten teams were divided into five classrooms for head-to-head competition, with one winning team selected from each classroom. Each team gave their presentations to a panel of judges, and was required to defend their proposal in question and answer periods.

The next day, the five remaining teams competed for two spots in the finals. One after another, the teams took the stage and made their cases in front of the judges and the whole student body. After each time had completed their presentation, the students all cast their votes for the top two presentations, and the judges gave each proposal a score based on the following standards:

  • Proposal is mature, clear, well-researched.
  • Student demonstrates good speaking skills, wins support of the listener.
  • Presentation promotes their idea.
  • Team demonstrates effective division of labor.


After the votes were counted and the judges’ scores factored in, it was announced that teams 7 and 9 would advance to the finals.

 
 Guest judges for the final round:

  • Liu Changming, member of the National CPPCC Standing Committee and Principal of Beijing No. 4 High School
  • Xu Xiaolan, member of the CPPCC National Committee and Secretary General of the Chinese Institute of Electronics
  • Yuan Yabin, Head of the National CPPCC Motions Committee Office
  • Xie Chaohua, Undersecretary of the Beijing Municipal CPPCC and Vice-chairman of the Beijing Zhigong Party
  • Huang Wei, Director of the China Education Daily
 

Finals

On the afternoon of July 29th, the final showdown took place between team 7’s proposal on garbage sorting and team 9’s proposal on improving food safety. This time, after each team presented their proposals, the opposing team was given a chance to ask questions, followed by the audience. After the two question periods, the guest judges gave feedback and posed any questions that they had.

After a short recession, the judges came to an agreement and announced team 7 as the winners of this first-ever Model CPPCC event. At the ACE closing ceremony, a representative of team 7 submitted a written copy of their presentation to a CPPCC member, who will submit it to the real CPPCC and NPC for consideration later this year.

Power of Persuasion

High school students have the same brain power and intelligence as other adults, but in a world where authority is closely linked to experience, it is difficult for them to directly affect change in society. However, there is always a way to make one's voice heard: just as the CPPCC influences the political process at all levels through its proposals, students as well can make a difference in issues they care about by becoming involved, researching the problem, and making the right suggestions to the right organizations.

High school students have great potential to act as leaders. There’s a lot we can do. 

For example, in his opening speech, Mr. Qiu Guoyi told the story of how the "Chinese Green Card" for long-term foreign residents was first proposed in a CPPCC meeting. Although the proposal met with resistance along the way from various administrative organizations, it was a timely response to a growing social issue, and through persistent suggestion and solid, in-depth research, it found its way to the people who could put it into action.

These are the subtle nuances of politics in China that get lost in polemic media portrayals. As China's importance to the world community continues to grow, there is a pressing need for people around the globe to deepen their understanding of Chinese society. This Model CPPCC event provided just such a chance to this select group of students. 

According to team 9 monitor Grant Hao: “In these three short days, every student has put to use their creativity, innovation and problem solving skills. We believe with hard work we can overcome the food safety problem and other main problems facing society today.”



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