Let's navigate Shanghai's Two Sessions together!

Shanghai's high-profile annual political event, Lianghui (Two Sessions), kicks off today and will last about a week.
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Starting today is Shanghai’s high-profile annual political event, Lianghui.

Shanghai’s high-profile annual political event, Lianghui (Two Sessions), kicks off today and will last about a week. I’m here to guide you through some of the topics and changes expected to be made this year, and let you know about any changes to the laws that might affect you.

Waste management law changes

This year’s Two Sessions will review and enact the city’s first regulations around waste management, and these rules will affect you if you live here in Shanghai. 

Did you know that since 2001, the amount of domestic garbage thrown out in Shanghai has climbed 3 percent annually, and now nearly 7.5 million tons of waste is handled each year? 

In order to better protect the environment, the government will enforce new regulations that require individuals and businesses to sort their waste themselves into four categories. They are hazardous, recyclable, wet and dry. 

Hazardous garbage is the type that poses health or environmental threats including batteries, fluorescent lamp tubes and expired medicines. 

Recyclable garbage includes waste paper, plastics, glass, metals and textiles. Wet garbage is biological waste that rots easily, including food leftovers, expired food, fruit peels and cores, and residue from TCM herbs. 

Dry garbage includes stained paper, stained plastic bags, cigarette butts and dust.

According to the draft law, if individuals refuse to sort their garbage out they could face fines of up to 200 yuan, so it really pays to get into the habit of sorting your own waste if you’re not already.

On top of that, the draft regulations stop hotels from offering disposable items such as slippers and shower caps, and restaurant operators will no longer be able to give out disposable chopsticks and spoons. 

Protecting historical architecture

Shanghai has many amazing and historical pieces of architecture, much of which most people would never even dream of altering or removing, but that’s not always the case. Last year the government investigated the protection of historical buildings in Shanghai, leading to new proposals being put forward at this year’s Two Sessions which will further protect history and enforce even stricter penalties on those who illegally alter, renovate or destroy these structures. 

Grassroots research before any laws changed

Every year dozens and dozens of new pieces of legislation and regulation are discussed and passed at Two Sessions, but there is a lot of work that goes into researching such changes beforehand, as well as analyzing how they will work, and how they will affect people’s lives. Around 500 pieces of field research were undertaken last year when looking into possible new laws and regulations, and that included 22,000 suggestions from local residents and companies. That’s a lot of leg work!

Yangtze River Delta integration

A recent development is the signing of agreement partnerships between governments in the Yangtze River Delta region — Shanghai and Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces — so that they can work together more closely in the development of the whole area. 

That brings more and more opportunities to take weekend trips away to discover some of the magic just outside Shanghai’s back door. The four areas of the region include many famous cities like Nanjing, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Hefei, as well as ample other places you’ve never heard of but no doubt should visit. 

Watch our cartoon roundups daily

If you want to get the low-down on what’s happening at Lianghui for the next 6 days, check out my cartoon series, Andy’s Lianghui Moments. 

Don’t forget to share the videos with your friends!

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