BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- It is really a rough ride for 47-year-old Luo Yunlian to spend nine days on the 2,000-km journey from her remote village in southwest China's Sichuan Province to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
As a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), Luo scales cliffs, rides a funicular and travels to Sichuan's capital Chengdu by bus before flying to Beijing.
Now she is discussing social and economic development with Chinese leaders and nearly 3,000 NPC deputies.
Behind Luo's journey are people's expectations for increased tourism, and solutions to water and power shortages back home.
NPC deputies are tasked with carrying forth the opinions and expectations of grassroots people and blending them into the country's top-level design. In other words, the deputies will ensure that development is really as the people wish.
In China, democracy means "the people are the masters of the country".
People's democracy is the lifeblood of socialism, and the people as masters of the country is the essence and core of socialist democracy, President Xi Jinping has stressed.
This concept rules national political and social life. The composition of NPC deputies and advisors to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee offers an illustration.
Of the nearly 3,000 deputies to the 12th NPC, about 13 percent are workers and farmers, up 5.18 percentage points from that of the 11th NPC. The number of professionals also rose by 1.2 percentage points.
Of the more than 2,000 political advisors to the 12th CPPCC National Committee, 39.9 percent are Communist Party of China (CPC) members and 60.1 percent are non-Communist members, and all 56 ethnic groups have their representative members.
What distinguishes socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics from the West's largely money politics and power-for-money deals is its solid foundation of public opinion, which highlights the people's interests and aspirations.
In China, public matters are often settled through consultation involving all parties. Finding the best way to coordinate the aspirations and demands of the whole of society is the true meaning of people's democracy.
This has been evident in Xi's schedule at the ongoing annual two sessions. Actually, other Chinese leaders have also listened to the opinions of legislators and political advisors in a face-to-face manner.
Speaking with political advisors from three non-Communist parties on March 4, Xi called on intellectuals to make a greater contribution to development. The whole of society should care for and respect intellectuals and cultivate a favorable environment that honors knowledge and intellectuals, Xi said.
At another panel discussion on March 5, Xi touched on issues such as innovation, village governance and reform of education and fiscal and tax systems, exchanging ideas on state governance with deputies.
The draft general provisions of civil law is high on the agenda at this year's legislative session. Last year, the draft went through three readings at the bi-monthly sessions of the NPC Standing Committee, and public opinions were solicited three times. Symposia were held to hear suggestions, and more than 70,000 opinions were collected.
China's system, including electoral democracy and consultative democracy, works because it has developed in accordance with the reality of Chinese society.
SERVING THE PEOPLE
As Xi has noted, "democracy is not a decoration, but a means of solving problems."
Before the two sessions in 2015, Wang Chengdeng, a red army veteran from east China's Jiangxi Province, wrote to Xi asking for support for the tea-oil industry in his hometown.
Wang's letter was brought to Beijing by fellow villager and NPC deputy Ming Jinghua.
Xi read the letter at the scene and asked authorities to carry out research. With Xi's support, tea-oil planting on an area of over 130,000 hectares has become a backbone industry for the old revolutionary base.
Similar stories of listening to the people and meeting their expectations are common during the two sessions.
China reported 6.7 percent GDP growth and contributed to more than 30 percent of global growth in 2016. More than 13 million new urban jobs were created and per capita disposable income increased 6.3 percent in real terms, and the number of people living in poverty in rural areas was reduced by 12.4 million.
While many countries stagnate in state governance, China grows and stays stable. The answer lies in the people's congress system, multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC. It is quite different from the Western system of multiple bickering parties holding office in turn.
It is fundamentally different from other systems under which candidates are often skilled in winning elections but have not enough practical experiences in governance.
Just as the Economist reported, "Direct democracy is fine for things that do not matter, such as the Eurovision song contest. But it is no way to run a country."