13 February 2012
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is considering banning officials from giving long speeches at meetings. Audience members in China are often caught dozing off, even at televised events.
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When China's retired basketball superstar Yao Ming attended a Communist Party advisory meeting last month, a press photograph of him showed several other delegates sleeping peacefully to either side.
According to Chinese state media, the mayor of Guangzhou has now had enough of interminable speeches in stuffy rooms - and has said so in a fifty-eight-minute address.
Wan Qingliang told a local Party session that speeches should be capped at an hour for key meetings, and half an hour for less important gatherings.
That might be a wake-up call for China's National People's Congress, where speeches can drag on for two hours. Another Guangzhou official, Tang Jinhua, was quoted as saying that lengthy speeches left little time for any actual decisions. And he said some of the paperwork wasn't needed at all: we just throw some documents away, he said, after reading the titles.
Click to hear the vocabulary
people attending the meeting
- had enough of
didn't want any more
not enough air
stopped, limited to
- a wake-up call
an event that alerts people to a problem
- drag on
continue for too long
documents and papers