Fan Yongzhen (2nd R), a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), talks with her fellow deputies after a plenary meeting of Yunnan delegation in Beijing, capital of China, March 7, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Zongyou]
Sitting among nearly 3,000 national lawmakers at the Great Hall of the People at the heart of Beijing, Fan Yongzhen feels a great sense of responsibility to her people.
A deputy curator of a local cultural museum in southwest China's Yunnan Province, Fan wants more funding for preserving ethnic minority cultures, as well as better technologies in public museums in less developed areas.
The annual "two sessions," which gather thousands of national legislators and political advisors from across China, present an opportunity for voices like Fan's to be heard on the national level.
Fan attended the sessions for the first time last year. As a beginner, she felt uncertain about how to fulfill her duty well.
From the multi-ethnic Yunnan Province, Fan suggested the government increase support for modern public cultural institutions in the western region. Although she had made thorough research on the topic by visiting local cultural facilities and artists, and conducting surveys, she was not sure about her suggestion.
To Fan's surprise, soon after she went back home from Beijing, she received feedback for her suggestion. Digital museum construction in Lijiang and cultural institutes at the township level have both received strong support from government departments.
"I look at my role as a lawmaker differently after that," Fan said. "The responsibility is huge."
This year, she suggests creating more digital cultural products for better public access.
Zhuang Yan, another lawmaker from northeast China's Liaoning Province, tries to address pollution caused by de-icing salt.
Her home city of Anshan has long snow-covered winters. As a street cleaner, Zhuang experiences first-hand how de-icing salt can erode road surfaces, vehicles, and cause pollution to soil and underground water.
"I give my suggestion based on what I am most familiar with. That way I feel more confident," said Zhuang, in her orange uniform.
Zhuang has been a legislator since 2017. Ahead of her first trip to Beijing that year, she was excited and nervous at the same time.
Unlike many other legislators with more experience in public speaking, eloquence was not Zhuang's strength.
"I was afraid of people asking me questions," Zhuang said.
She received several training sessions afterwards, and learned how to conduct research on the de-icing salt's negative impact.
Zhuang later found using a new type of green de-icing salt could help improve the overall benefits, but the price is three to four times higher. "Government at all levels should spend money on addressing the issue," she wrote in her suggestion.
As her experience increased, she has become more confident and her speech delivery got better too. "People choose me as their representative, and I have to present their voice well," she said.
Fan Yongzhen (R), a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), carries out a research on Thangka painting with dianxiu embroidery at Baisha Old Town of Yulong Naxi Autonomous County in Lijiang, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 13, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Zongyou]
Fan Yongzhen (L), a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), discusses with her fellow deputy Hu Aluo in Beijing, capital of China, March 6, 2019. [Xinhua/Yang Zongyou]
Zhuang Yan (front), a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), attends the opening meeting of the second session of the 13th NPC in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2019. [Xinhua/Xie Huanchi]
Zhuang Yan (R), a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress(NPC), cleans a track in the Lishan District of Anshan, northeast China's Liaoning Province, Feb. 26, 2019.[Xinhua/Yang Qing]