Members of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC are interviewed via video link ahead of the opening of the third session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 21, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

A national political advisor shared his insights with about the special arrangements for this year's sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) amid coronavirus controls.

Han Fangming, vice chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the CPPCC National Committee, explained that the hotels and meeting rooms for the sessions have provided pared-down services this year. There are no banners, red carpets, flowers, bars or cafes. Gone are the usual official vendors selling “two sessions” souvenirs, stamps and books. Instead, the booths have been replaced by information desks for epidemic prevention and fire control.

CPPCC members and NPC delegates have been asked to prepare pens or notepads on their own. In front of each seat at the meeting table, there is just a single bottle of water and a teacup, with one new addition—a pack of antiseptic wipes.

Each member and delegate has been provided with a handbook, containing a full-page reminder about how to avoid catching or block spreading the virus. Attendees are encouraged not to shake hands, congregate outside the meeting rooms or linger in confined places, as well as not to leave their hotels or the convention areas without permission from the organizers. They are also required to keep more than one meter from each other, and help maintain ventilation by keeping windows open.

In addition, the attendees have all received written instructions about when and where it's necessary to wear a face mask. For example, those attending the plenary session in the Great Hall of the People must all don the masks handed out by the meeting's organizers.

Environmental protection and frugality are also reflected in various other details. For instance, during the conference, the secretariat of the two sessions provided far fewer newspapers for CPPCC members than in previous years, in order to cut down on paper.

Han also noticed that the hotels where the CPPCC members and NPC deputies are staying and attending meetings have already started to implement Beijing's recent order requiring garbage to be sorted into different categories.

"Due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the shortened session, the accommodation and meeting venues for CPPCC members and NPC delegates are simpler, stricter and more efficient," Han observed.

There have been lots of changes to this year's meetings because of the epidemic. In terms of the media, most journalists are unable to enter the attendees' hotels and meeting places. Instead, they must conduct their interviews remotely via video links, emails and over the phone.


Photos provided by Han Fangming, vice-chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC, show various epidemic prevention measures inside one of the meeting venues. [Photos provided to]