In previous years, doctor Cai Weiping usually met with reporters before going to Beijing in early March for the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC).
But this year, the sudden COVID-19 outbreak changed Cai's schedule and how he received media interviews.
The deputy to the national legislature sat in a studio in the southern city of Guangzhou to take questions from a reporter in Beijing, whose image was projected holographically with the support of 5G technology.
"I've been reflecting on the battle against COVID-19 and have come up with two proposals on further strengthening the public health emergency response system," said Cai, who fought the epidemic on the front lines.
The epidemic changed the schedule of the NPC as well.
After a postponement of more than two months, the annual sessions of the country's national legislature and political advisory body, also known as the "two sessions," will start this week.
National legislators and political advisors from across the country are gathering in Beijing for this key event on the country's political calendar.
With the "two sessions" to be held against the backdrop of regular measures to contain the COVID-19 epidemic this year, participants to the annual sessions are experiencing things in a different way.
According to a State Council executive meeting, China will adopt new ways of receiving proposals and suggestions from national legislators and political advisors, including via video-link, phone calls and the internet. Officials of relevant State Council departments are also asked to tune in live to the deliberation of the government work report by lawmakers through video links.
Kong Weike, a national political advisor from east China's Shandong Province, said the convening of the "two sessions" itself demonstrates China's initial victory in containing the epidemic.
"Meanwhile, the shortened duration of the sessions will enable national lawmakers and political advisors to focus on the main topics with increased efficiency," Kong said.
Villagers in Donsala Village in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are also eagerly waiting for the "two sessions" to open, said Wu Yunbo, a national lawmaker and the village's Party secretary.
For them, this year's annual sessions are out of the ordinary as the country is gearing up for completing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
"We have lifted all the villagers out of poverty," Wu said, adding that the herders in his village want to know what to do next and how to deal with the new situation brought by COVID-19. Their questions are likely to be addressed at the upcoming "two sessions."
Zhao Wanping, a national legislator and deputy head of the Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said he would still make active contributions to the session despite the changes and obstacles brought by the epidemic, believing that other national legislators would also do the same.
"Even at the beginning of this year when China was in the most difficult period due to the epidemic, we did not waver in the pursuit of poverty alleviation," Zhao said, adding he is confident that China will achieve its goals in eliminating absolute poverty by 2020. Enditem