The dark side of the Great Hall in Two Sessions
Delegates at the National People’s Congress or those attending the 'Two Sessions' often have to stand up for long periods and deal with tight security
It’s that time again. The Two Sessions – the National People’s Congress and National Committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference – kick off on Saturday in Beijing.
Like every year, much of the focus on the two-week congress at the Great Hall of the People will be on the policies and future plans for the nation.
But how the actual process works among the 3,000 or so members participating has always been a mystery.
Hong Kong NPC delegate Pauline Ngan Po-ling said she will have to read many documents because the Congress involves many different agendas and issues.
But the lady, who got most votes among the 36 winners in the NPC election in Hong Kong last December, will also be taking a pair of skimmers (flat shoes).
That’s because, based on her past five years of experience, she knows she will need to stand for long periods every day.
Apart from standing, her movement is also restricted. The boss of Mainland Headwear Holdings, which makes caps for Major League Baseball fans, also said she had no choice but to eat the hotel buffet for almost every meal.
That is because committee members are often not allowed to go out for dinner and can’t get food delivered, because of all the security. So, she will bring along some fast-food hot-pot packs and instant cup noodles.
Ngan, among other Hong Kong delegates, will not pick the usual Grand Hotel Beijing, which is close to the Great Hall of the People. She will stay at another hotel further from the main venue, where guests will be picked up by a shuttle bus.
The level of security for the event has reportedly been raised and journalists are only allowed anywhere other than the designated media area after 5pm.
So, the Hong Kong and Macau reporters, listed as ‘foreign press’ under the “One country, two systems”, are not allowed to walk across the corridor from the Grand Hotel Beijing to the Grand Hall of the People.
This is a two-week ordeal for thousands of committee members and media people, but most are happy to sacrifice their time for the good of the country.