Ma Huateng (R), Wang Yaping (C) and Xu Liyi, deputies to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), receive an interview before the opening meeting of the first session of the 13th NPC in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2018. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)
BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tech entrepreneur Ma Huateng, or Pony Ma, was the first among 10 deputies introduced at the first "passage interview" of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), which opened on Monday.
"Our goal is to build a digital China, a country with strong cyber technology," said Ma, founder and chairman of Tencent, during the interview in the Great Hall of the People on Monday.
Ma, who came to Shenzhen in 1984, said he is a real witness and beneficiary of the reform and opening up policy.
Ma said China's reform and opening up drive, which marks its 40th anniversary this year, has been a miracle.
"If you look back in human history, there has been no other country that has lifted nearly 700 million people out of poverty in just 40 years," he said.
Ma said that Shenzhen has developed from a small fishing village to a metropolis whose GDP exceeded 2.2 trillion yuan last year. Meanwhile, Tencent has developed from a company with only five members to one of the ten biggest internet companies in the world.
Notably, Ma said, the monthly global active users on the company's messaging app WeChat have reached one billion.
"In 2015, I made the Internet Plus proposal, and in 2017 I proposed building a digital economy. This year, I bring a proposal on building a digital China," said Ma.
"Internet Plus was the method, digital economy is the result, and our goal is to finally build a digital China," he added.
Passage interviews take place on the path leading toward the main hall of the Great Hall of the People, where group interviews are arranged on the sidelines of major meetings.
Female astronaut Wang Yaping, mayor of east China's Hangzhou City Xu Liyi, and Chairman of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC Motor) Chen Hong were among the first group of deputies invited to answer questions from the press.
Wang Yaping said giving a televised science lesson from space to Chinese students in 2013 was an unforgettable moment. Not only had she fulfilled her dream, but she also inspired many.
"After I came back from my mission, I received letters from many children who said they wished to become astronauts as well. It made me feel proud and happy," she said.
Xu Liyi said the city government of Hangzhou, the host of the G20 summit in 2016, will further simplify affair-handling procedures for enterprises and individuals.
Gong Baoxiong, Party secretary of Liangjiahe village of Yanchuan County in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, spoke about the development of his village during the past five years.
"We received over one million tourists last year, and I hereby invite more people to visit our village," Gong said.
A total of 10 questions were raised and the interview lasted about 40 minutes. The group interview was broadcast live on state television and various portals.