Across China: A Pakistan student’s take on Two Sessions meeting

NANNING: The annual sessions of China’s top legislature and political advisory body, which concluded on Friday, have attracted a special foreign follower this year: Jahan Shair Jalal, a Pakistan-national student in China.

Having lived in the country for more than five years, Jahan Shair Jalal is no stranger to the “two sessions.” He is a medical student at the Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and works as an intern at a local hospital.

During his internship in Guangxi, Jalal found that China’s extensive medical insurance coverage has enabled those from remote areas to enjoy relatively good medical resources.

“China is vast and has a large population, and the local conditions vary from place to place across the country. But the Chinese government has always been devoted to managing its medical resources based on reasonable allocation,” said Jalal.

A wide range of topics with regard to people’s livelihoods were discussed at the annual gathering, and this year, Jahan Shair Jalal noticed several specific suggestions and proposals from China’s lawmakers and political advisors.

Wei Qin, a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), proposed the establishment of an administration bureau for rare-disease services, while Ding Jie, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), advised the joint development of a medical insurance mechanism for rare-disease medicine.

Jalal is glad to see efforts being made to better protect and treat patients suffering from rare diseases, some of which have already been implemented.

Aside from improvements related to medical care, the Pakistani student is impressed at how the voices of ordinary people are listened to and their concerns addressed. He cited the rights and welfare of delivery workers as a good example.

Since coming to China, Jahan Shair Jalal has got into the habit of ordering his meals via mobile applications. He is amazed at the popularity of online food delivery and the efficiency of the services.

“In my country, only a few big chain restaurants and the courier industry would offer similar jobs. But in China, it’s no exaggeration to say that almost everything can be delivered to your doorstep.”

“The voices and rights protection of ordinary workers such as delivery guys are taken seriously by the ‘two sessions,'” said the young man.

He said that he read about how an NPC deputy’s personal experience on the topic inspired her to make a worthwhile proposal at the “two sessions.”

In 2019, Huang Chao got her car scratched by a passing delivery man, and during her interactions with the man, she learned more about their working conditions and concerns. After over a year’s research on the relevant circumstances, Huang made a proposal to the “two sessions” for more comprehensive regulations aimed at better protecting delivery workers.

In July 2021, Huang’s suggestion was partly taken up by relevant departments, and an official guideline on safeguarding the rights and interests of workers in new forms of employment was released.

“After graduation, I would like to take what I have seen and learnt in China back to Pakistan so that more people know about China and can learn from its successful experience.”

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