There Are Some Weird Things Happening At China's "Two Sessions"

Disneyland under attack and a new Valentine's Day proposal are some of the highlights of China's annual semi-democratic meetings.

It is that time again. Once a year, about 5,000 top figures gather in Beijing, right next to Tiananmen Square, to approve project spending and assess policies from all levels of government.

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Their gathering is commonly known in China as the "two sessions" – the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), where not everyone is a member of the Chinese Communist Party, and the National People's Congress (NPC).

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While both sound extremely open and democratic, they could be more accurately described as a "rubber-stamping exercise" than a free debate.

Sometimes, though, drama does happen. And it's a rare chance for the media to probe the tip of the iceberg that is the Chinese government's decision-making process.

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It also gives reporters the chance to ask questions about important issues such as economic growth, air pollution, corruption, and social welfare reform.

While most of the attending delegates' proposals actually are representative of the people's needs, some seem like they come out of absolutely nowhere. Here are some of the oddest things to come out of this year's sessions:

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1. The Shanghai Disney Resort currently under construction came under fire.

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"I don't agree with more Disneylands to open in China," Li Xiusong, a delegate from Anhui Province, told China Youth Daily.

Li thinks Disneyland will lure children to prefer Western culture and become indifferent toward Chinese culture. China should have its own "Disneylands," he added, pointing to one theme park that's doing great already – the one right there in his province.

2. A famous director and actor reportedly advocated for stricter censorship standards on web TV series, then denied it on Weibo, before a video clip of his advocacy emerged, and finally the Weibo post disappeared.

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As if a new semi-official guideline advising “no television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviors” wasn't enough, actor and director Zhang Guoli jumped into the fray.

"I was about to propose the same thing anyways, if the guideline wasn't out already," he said in the video that was circulated after he denied he'd ever said such a thing.

3. China could get its own version of Valentine's Day to solve its high divorce rate.

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Fu Qiping, a delegate from Zhejiang Province, thinks that Valentine's Day, the one held on February 14, is an imported idea and lacks a traditional foundation.

Qixi Festival, a holiday falling on the seventh day of the Lunar Year's seventh month, traditionally celebrates the annual reunion of an immortal couple in Chinese mythology. That, in Fu's opinion, could be turned into a public holiday for couples to reflect on their marriage and study the virtue of loyalty, reported media site The Paper.

4. Chen Sisi, a military singer, stood firmly by the side of square-dancing grannies.

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Square dancing in China refers to the kind of exercises carried out in open spaces such as the squares and parks spread all over China. Originally it was all middle-aged retired women nicknamed "Square-Dancing Grannies," but the exercises have gotten more and more young followers in recent years. Not everybody enjoys square dancing, though – complaints have been filed about the exercisers' loud music and occupancy of public space.

Chen's proposal is for the country to facilitate the grannies with a set of separate infrastructure, reported Chinese web portal Sina News. So we'll see how that goes.

5. "Boys should start school two years later than girls."

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That is the proposal from Zhu Xiaojin, a vice president from Nanjing Normal University in Jiangsu Province. His argument is that girls start to develop intelligence earlier, and boys are "too rambunctious to learn," reported Caixin.

Since the conferences will run through mid-March, there might be more odd proposals ahead.

But recent events might put a damper on the delegates' enthusiasm: A retired real estate tycoon was just criticized widely in the state-run media for being a bad party member who dared to criticize the party publicly. So the delegates might be more worried about what they say than in previous years when odd proposals took over headlines in China.

All in all, good job so far, guys.

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