For many who live in Beijing, the first week of March is hell. Traffic is at its worst: random roads are cleared for black Audis with police escorts. This is all done for the National People's Congress (NPC) and National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) sessions—commonly known as the two sessions.
During the two sessions, a series of things happen: Social topics and regulations are among some of the biggest talking points discussed during the meetings, which last 12 days and bring about over two thousand delegates from all over China to Beijing.
The two sessions is a most important political time in China. In fact, many regulations and laws are passed as a result of the discussions that take place during the them. This year could spell disaster for the internet.
Some of the hot button issues that will be discussed this year are stabilizing economic growth, the education of migrant worker's children, and dealing with foreign affairs.
So what exactly does the two sessions have to do with you, the gamer who (may or may not) live outside of China? Video games, game culture, and the internet have all been hot topics during the two sessions. Depending on how things go, video games may become more expensive or cheaper, and the Chinese internet might become more open—that in turn will create more customers for Western online game developers. However, we won't know till after the sessions have ended.
What we do know for now is that some delegates are actually for stronger internet control in China.
Shen Jilan, an 82 year-old delegate of the National Peoples Congress, seems to have internet freedom on her sights despite not being online herself.
"I have an idea: there needs to be someone to govern the internet, its not just something for people to do whatever they want to do with," said Shen. "It should be like The People's Daily (the State newspaper)."
"Foreigners and those people are messing up [the internet]," she continued. "We can't be like them. We can't turn a good thing bad in which people say what they want to say, because our country is a socialist country under the leadership of the Communist Party."
While it sounds and reads like a senile old woman talking about what she doesn't know, Shen has served at the two sessions since first being elected in 1954. In her 58 years as a delegate, she has never voted "nay" against the Party citing that she "didn't want to give the Party trouble." Which is why she's more than happy to give the internet trouble.
代表申纪兰:58年前骑毛驴走4天 这次坐动车3小时 [Southern Daily]
(Top photo: Associated Press)