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…
To sate journalistic ambition, the two sessions are expected tohave 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.
Chow Chung-Yan of the South China Morning Post, says, Journalists frustrated by red tape in access to ministers [Subscription required]:
For the first time in a decade, hundreds of journalists attending the opening of the nation’s top legislature were “quarantined” from ministers and top officials.
For years, going early to the Great Hall of the People and waiting near its entrance had been a reporter’s best, and sometimes only, opportunity to buttonhole press-shy officials and quiz them on issues.
Except for a handful of top leaders, ministers without access to the area’s secret passages had to walk through the northern entrance and suffer such indignity.
The officials often had to rely on their quick wits, stoicism and even physical strength to fend off the mob.
This year, the National People’s Congress media control unit came up with a simple but effective plan: it sealed the area with red tape and restricted reporters to an isolated zone.
Many delegates, who in the past would have broken into a sprint at the first sight of journalists, were free to saunter down the red carpet to their meeting hall. Some even stopped to take pictures of the distressed reporters, who were begging passing ministers to stop. “We have a new attraction at the Great Hall of the People,” one delegate joked about the crowded press zone.
Photo from the Consulate-General of the PRC in New York: At the 10th National People’s Congress law passed last year, the Anti-Secession law was passed by 2,896 votes to zero, with two abstentions.