The annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has opened at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. More than 2,000 delegates are expected to attend this year's session. Members hail from various walks of life and ethnic groups, as well as from token political parties meant to assist the ruling Communist Party in running the world's most populous nation and second-largest economy. The conference is ostensibly a venue for voices from the full spectrum of Chinese society who issue proposals meant to advise the 3,000-member legislature in its work.

IBTimes UK presents a gallery of photos taken in and around the Great Hall of the people on the opening day of the CPPCC.

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A paramilitary policeman stands guard in front of a portrait of Chairman Mao Tse-tung at Tiananmen Gate in BeijingAly Song/Reuters
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Stewards pose for pictures on Tiananmen Square during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative ConferenceDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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CPPCC hostesses in Tiananmen SquareFred Dufour/AFP
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Members of a military band rehearse inside the Great Hall of the PeopleJason Lee/Reuters
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A girl wears a virtual reality headset outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing after the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in BeijingDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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People use selfie sticks to record a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen SquareDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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People leave Tiananmen Square shortly after a flag-raising ceremonyDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Minority delegates wearing traditional costumes arrive for the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative ConferenceAly Song/Reuters
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A minority delegate leaves the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative ConferenceFred Dufour/AFP
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A delegate wearing ethnic minority attire attends the opening sessionWang Zhao/AFP
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A minority delegate arrives for the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative ConferenceFred Dufour/AFP
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A minority delegate in traditional costume leaves after the opening sessionWang Zhao/AFP
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Ethnic Tibetan delegates leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening sessionAly Song/Reuters
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Military delegates arrive at the Great Hall of the PeopleFred Dufour/AFP
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Paramilitary policemen arrive at Tiananmen SquareDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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A paramilitary officer and firefighters stand guard outside the Great Hall of the PeopleFred Dufour/AFP
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Police officers patrol Tiananmen Square on SegwaysLintao Zhang/Getty Images
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Security guards check a row of seats in the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)Wang Zhao/AFP
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A journalist tries out a 360-degree camera and virtual reality goggles outside the Great Hall of the PeopleFred Dufour/AFP
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Journalists crowd around a delegate outside the Great Hall of the PeopleGreg Baker/AFP
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Security guards sit outside the Great Hall of the People ahead of the opening sessionJohannes Eisele/AFP
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Security guards with Tiananmen Square  in the background after the opening sessionJohannes Eisele/AFP
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Olympic hurdles champion Liu Xiang attends the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the PeopleLintao Zhang/Getty Images
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Former NBA star Yao Ming makes his way through a crowd of journalists to the steps of the Great Hall of the PeopleGreg Baker/AFP
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Hostesses pour tea for delegrates before the opening session of the Fourth Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in BeijingJohannes Eisele/AFP
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang chat after the opening sessionJohannes Eisele/AFP

The opening session was attended by China's political including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the National People's Congress parliament Zhang Dejiang. China's National Party Congress begins on Saturday (5 March) where leaders will discuss how to combat the downturn in the world's second biggest economy.