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March 9, 2010

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Journalist fights for people's interests

CHINA Democratic League (CDL)

Established on March 19, 1941, in Chongqing, the China Democratic League is dedicated to building a socialist society with Chinese characteristics.

As a part of China's political alliance, CDL follows the leadership of and works together with CPC. Most CDL members are senior and middle-ranking intellectuals in culture, education, and science and technology. Main founders include Zhang Lan, Shen Junru, Huang Yanpei and Zhang Bojun.

The Shanghai branch listed 14,000 members at the end of 2009.

In September 1981, I became a journalist with Xinmin Evening News, covering art and literature. Probably because of my interest in culture, China Democratic League (CDL) invited me to join.

In view of my family background, I was hesitant at the time.

My father, Li Xiaofeng, founded the noted Beixin Press. When he studied in Peking University, he was a devout follower of Li Dazhao and Lu Xun. They developed deep teacher-student friendship and fought together against feudal culture.

After Li Dazhao was killed by the warlord government, my father still took risks to publish his works. Lu, a very good friend of my father's, published his new works in Beixin Press. Despite years of dedication and contributions to the city and to a workers' and peasants' party, my father was misunderstood by the left wing and criticized as a rightist.

I feared history would repeat itself, so I was reluctant to join at first, but I got to know many CDL members and was impressed by their passion for art and literature. Inspired and influenced by them, I finally decided to join in 1985.

My experience differed from my father's. I was elected to the National People's Congress (NPC) in 1993, coinciding with the reform and opening up in China, a time to "make things right."

The top leaders of the country were full of wisdom and insight, they were democratic and far-seeing. So I could act as their friend and present my suggestions without any trepidation.

An example: In the mid- to late-1980s, the theatrical circle in Shanghai was flourishing. Leftist ideology was still deeply rooted in the field at that time, however, so many dramas were considered controversial.

I attended a seminar at the invitation of the CPC Shanghai Committee. Many speakers fiercely criticized some dramas and called for cancelation.

Those speeches made me very anxious and I knew that if city leaders agreed, many good plays would be taken off the stage and drama circles would no longer thrive.

Though I was only a journalist and ordinary member, I believed I had a deeper understanding of the Party's policies on art - let a hundred flowers blossom - and I had a better grasp of the drama scene.

So I delivered a reasoned defense of the dramas in question and Municipal Committee leaders listened closely and later quoted my speech, so the whole discussion was balanced and fair.

During 15-year career in the NPC, I have cared about the lives of ordinary people and done my best to fight for their rights and interests. Many people have brought me their problems and I have tried to help.

Based on the people's concerns, I made proposals to formulate and improve laws on food hygiene, agricultural produce safety, medical equipment supervision (preventing fakes), urban residence relocation, marriage, women's retirement age, labor security in non-state enterprises, and others.

Each time when I felt that some officials behaved recklessly, I would air my views and sharp criticism. Many of my suggestions were adopted by the NPC.

I succeeded in helping to overturn possible unjust verdicts and I pressed for NPC supervision over courts and procurators. When I heard of miscarriages of justice, I researched the cases and raised the issues. I am especially proud of my efforts to end the use of fake or inferior medical equipment in hospitals.


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