The annual meeting of the CPPCC (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) is the major preliminary event before the annual Communist Party congress scheduled for later this year.
China's Xinhua news agency said Saturday's session began with a call for harmony and diligent preparation for the upcoming party convention by CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin.
He also urged better communications and stronger ties among China's ethnic groups and with Hong Kong and Macao.
The CPPCC delegates will have plenty of time to consider Jia's words; the meeting lasts nearly two weeks.
Millions of Getty images now available for free via embed tool
Kim Kardashian, Kanye West reportedly set wedding date