Vaguely akin to the Oscars, with the rich and famous showing off their loyalty to the Communist Party of China on the red carpet, China’s Two Sessions, or lianghui, can be bewildering for the uninitiated: lots of bold pronouncements, wacky ideas from celebrities, and a virtual (pun intended) isolation from the rest of the world as the government gets serious about unlicensed VPNs.
Previously the realm of economists, policy wonks, and seriously hardcore China watchers, the noises made at the Two Sessions are increasingly relevant for us China tech watchers, as more and more attention is paid to the sector both by entrepreneurs, billionaires, and governments.
The annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC) kicked off last earlier this month in Beijing.
Unlike the National Congress of the Communist Party, the most important political event in China, which is held every five years (usually in October), the Two Sessions is the perfect place for the famous and elite of all stripes to show off their pet projects.
With a density of celebrities unavailable at any other time of the year, journalists from China’s state-run media are known for swarming delegates for an interview, soundbite, and even sometimes a selfie.
For the eagle-eyed and stalwart China tech watcher, most of the platitudes and policies should come as no surprise.