China delegates swoon at their proximity to power

China

Tears welled in Li Jian's eyes whenever President Hu Jintao mentioned the environment in his speech to Communist Party delegates gathered in the Great Hall of the People during China's most important political event of the decade.

Hu's exhortation last week to create a "beautiful China'' and to "cherish and love nature'' spoke to the 55-year-old bioengineer's dearest concerns. Hours later, still brimming with emotion, she stood up during a staid discussion among fellow delegates, to underline the good news.

This is coming directly from party leader Hu, she told them. "This is not from some TV anchor or some youth group speech,'' she said at the meeting, open to reporters.  ``This means there's no doubt we will have a beautiful China. That is absolutely certain!''

Li is one of the rank-and-file delegates attending the Communist Party congress running through Wednesday that will start to install a new generation of leaders to run the world's No. 2 economy.  

Delegates like Li have no real political clout. They ratify decisions made by a few dozen party insiders in backroom deals. There were brought to Beijing largely to make the roughly 2,300-member congress more representative, but they believe in the cause and swoon at the prestige of being chosen to be a delegate.

"This is a high honor, especially for those of us who are not government officials,'' Li said. "Any one of us who gets elected is the cream of the crop from each and every industry.''

Along with senior party figures, government officials, managers of state industries and military commanders, delegates like Li include migrant workers, peasants, factory technicians, teachers, doctors, artists and Olympic gold medalists.

There's China's "most beautiful mother'' _ who shot to national fame when she caught someone else's 2-year-old daughter with her bare arms when the toddler fell from a 10th-floor window. Wu Juping became a symbol of selflessness after the July 2011 rescue crushed her left arm.

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