Headline News


Foreign reporters enjoy greater freedom covering "two sessions"

Source: Xinhua News Agency | 03-02-2008 18:02

Special Report:   2008 NPC & CPPCC sessions

Andrew Kirillov, Beijing bureau chief of the Itar-Tass News Agency in Russia, appeared joyous when registering to cover China's upcoming "two sessions", not only because he was to witness the important political event again, but he would find it much easier to locate interviewees.

"In the past, deputies to the National People's Congress were not easy to contact," recalled Kirillov, who first came to China in 1988.

The First Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) and the First Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are slated to open in Beijing on March 5 and March 3 respectively.

Tian Qi, vice director of the press center of the two sessions who took charge of foreign media application, promised that they would arrange more interviews for reporters. "A major goal of our work is to have more interview requests of reporters fulfilled," he said.

As of Friday, the two sessions this year had drawn 843 foreign journalists of 225 media institutions from 42 countries, including about 50 who came from abroad specially for the political events.

The number of foreign reporters to this year's two sessions hit a record high with an increase of 20 percent over last year, Tian said.

China promulgated new regulations at the start of last year to give overseas reporters more freedom in news reporting.

At the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, reporters had unprecedented news access: interview requests were promptly handled, news conferences were held, and some panel discussions were open to the press.

Observers believed China would attract more overseas reporters this year with the factors of the two sessions, the Olympic Games and booming economy.

Kyodo News Agency of China's neighbor Japan sent a big squad of 16 journalists, but it was outnumbered by Reuters, which dispatched an unprecedentedly strong team of 50.

Oscar Garschagen, Shanghai bureau chief of the Netherlands-based newspaper NRC Handelsblad/NRC.Next, came to the annual events for the first time. He was interested in the government work report to be delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the opening of the NPC session, the government's plan for the next five years and the development in China's central and western regions and rural areas.

"I'd like to interview Premier Wen if he has time," he said.

Edward C. Lanfranco, Beijing bureau chief of United Press International, laid his interest on the government's personnel reshuffle, implementation of the Scientific Outlook on Development and policy adjustment. He also planned to talk with the three migrant workers who just entered the top legislative body.

To sate journalistic ambition, the two sessions are expected to have most of the NPC and CPPCC panels open to reporters in their discussions, followed by a newly-added 20-minute group interview for reporters to raise questions to the top legislators and political advisors.

Another change concerning the media this year is that overseas and domestic journalists share the same registration hall. "This move is aimed at encouraging exchanges between reporters," said Zhu Shouchen, another vice director of the two sessions' press center.

A package including introductions to government organs, NPC and CPPCC panels, agendas of the sessions, press conferences and group interviews was handed to reporters upon registration.

More than 20 computers were offered on the second floor of the press center to reporters, with most of them equipped with English operation systems.

News photos, signals of radio and TV programs on important occasions at the two sessions will be provided free of charge together with broadband and wireless Internet service.

Asked for further advice to the press center, Kirillov thought for a while and replied smilingly, "I need some bags to carry books."

On a long table in the reception hall there were nearly 100 kinds of books in various languages, which cover China's political and legal systems, culture, society, and shopping and tourism guidance. Some even touch upon sensitive topics like homosexuality.


Editor:Du Xiaodan