'She-power' shines at China's 'two sessions'
Holding a replica of newborn panda in her hand, Hou Rong stood under the spotlight at the Great Hall of the People, telling of her decades-long efforts to protect the cute and fuzzy species.
The first time the panda researcher artificially fed a cub in 1995 stands out in her memory. "Despite being such a tiny and fragile creature that cannot see and hear, it made a startling sound as if expressing a strong desire to survive," she recalled, adding that she has since derived a sense of heavy responsibility from her work.
Hou is also a national lawmaker, visiting Beijing for the ongoing "two sessions," which refers to the annual meetings of the National People's Congress , the country's national legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference , the top political advisery body.
Female lawmakers and political advisers like Hou play an essential role in pooling wisdom to fuel the country's development at this important annual event in China's political calendar. Women make up over a quarter of national legislators at the 14th NPC, according to official data.
As a veteran national lawmaker, Hou has led the submission of 31 suggestions and 10 motions on topics ranging from the protection of giant pandas and wildlife genetic resources to biodiversity conservation and the harmonious co-existence of man and nature.
"And 80 percent of the motions played a positive role in the formulation and revision of relevant laws and regulations," Hou added.
After around 30 years of efforts made by Hou and her colleagues, the number of pandas in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has increased from 18 in 1994 to more than 230 currently.
But Hou believes that the ultimate goal of their endeavor is to put pandas back into the wild, while ensuring that they survive and reproduce forever.
International Women's Day, which falls on Wednesday this year, was marked with flowers, best wishes and celebrations of the achievements of women like Hou.
As China gathers steam for building a great modern socialist country, topics including high-quality development, intellectual property protection, rural revitalization, environmental conservation, and the protection of women's and children's rights and interests have been widely discussed among the female legislators and political advisers.
This year marks the fifth time that Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of home appliance giant Gree Electric Appliances, has been elected as an NPC deputy.
"I bring to the meeting some motions related to the protection of intellectual property rights and high-quality development," she said.
"Innovation is the key to the development of a company, as well as the driving force behind the tremendous achievements China has made over the past decade," said Dong.
Today, the company boasts 35 internationally leading technologies, with more than 100,000 patents filed, and its products and services have been sold in more than 180 countries and regions.
Rural revitalization is another hot topic during the "two sessions." Wei Qiao, a national lawmaker and a tech-savvy "new farmer" from east China's Jiangsu Province, has devoted years to rural revitalization with her ideas and modern entrepreneurial skills.
"We have cultivated more than 20,000 mu (about 1,333 hectares) of rice, with each mu yielding 550 kg of grain," Wei said, noting that by managing the fields with digital methods, work efficiency was greatly improved.
Wei said she would continue to promote the building of digital eco-farms and lead more "new farmers" to join the development of modern agriculture.
Yang Yang, a council member of the China Disabled Persons' Federation and a CPPCC member, has been actively engaged in promoting the legislation of barrier-free environment construction in recent years.
"Hearing loss is a hidden disability that could be easily misunderstood. For these people, the disability is like a glass wall separating us from people who can hear," said Yang, who herself is hearing impaired.
"Over the years, hearing aids and information barrier-free environments have helped us move forward in China, and rehabilitation and integration education promoted by the country have delivered promising results," she said, adding that most students with hearing disabilities are now able to receive regular classes and integrated education in ordinary schools.
"The 'glass wall' is being broken down layer by layer," Yang said. "We, who are illuminated by the 'lights,' can also become lights to illuminate others."