Last updated at 16:12 GMT, Monday, 13 February 2012

Interminable speeches

Summary

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.

Reporter
Viv Marsh

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A yawning Tony Blair at a G8 summit.

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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.

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Vocabulary

delegates

people attending the meeting

had enough of

didn't want any more

interminable

very long

stuffy

not enough air

address

speech

capped

stopped, limited to

gatherings

meetings

a wake-up call

an event that alerts people to a problem

drag on

continue for too long

paperwork

documents and papers