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Celebrity delegates steal the limelight at China's political meetings

Celebrities stole the limelight this week as the nation's political elite gathered in provincial capitals for the annual meetings of local legislatures and political advisory bodies.

Diana Pang Dan(彭丹), a Hong Kong-based actress, on Tuesday attended her first meeting as a new delegate of the Gansu provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"I wish I could make some investments in Gansu and shoot more films and dramas about Gansu, especially something to echo the official [party] line," she was quoted by the China News Agency as saying.

The comment was quickly seized upon by internet users, who made it one of the most popular topics on Sina's popular microblogging service and resulted in it being one of the most-searched items on Baidu.

Pang added that the youth of today could learn about the difficulties faced by their ancestors by watching those types of films, which typically feature themes set by propaganda authorities.

She is one of a number of celebrities to have recently ventured into politics as delegates to regional CPPCCs and the National People's Congress.

Actor Stephen Chow Sing-chi (周星驰) joined the Guangdong CPPCC this year, following in the footsteps of fellow Hong Kong celebrities, including Eric Tsang Chi-wai (曾志伟), Kent Tong Chun-yip (汤镇业), Sally Wu(吴小莉) and Ma Dingsheng(马鼎盛), who also serve on provincial CPPCCs.

Chow came under fire for missing yesterday's opening session. He sent his assistant to fetch his committee member identification and other conference materials, the Nanfang Daily reported.

The assistant said Chow was in Beijing promoting his new movie, and he would try to attend the conference tomorrow.

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