Some Chinese journalists seem to be under the impression that the National People’s Congress, currently taking place in Beijing, is their chance to speak the truth to power. Delegates have been quick to remind them that this is still, in fact, China.
During a meeting of Beijing NPC delegates, an emotional journalist seemingly on the verge of tears asked a long question about air pollution in the capital, only to be completely ignored. Subtitles on the above video courtesy of Liz Carter.
At a separate event, a Caixin reporter was rebuked by Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan for focusing on “gossip”:
I hoped the stories about policemen who were unfairly treated [under Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun’s administration] concerned the Chongqing delegates. When their discussion ended, I approached the city’s mayor, Huang Qifan, as he exited.
Our exchange went like this:
“Excuse me, Mr. Mayor, I am a reporter from Caixin Media. Can I ask how the rehabilitation of Chongqing policemen is going?”
His surprising answer was: “As a financial reporter, why you don’t care about finance?”
“Well, I do care about finance, but I still want to know about the rehabilitation of the policemen,” I said.
“Then you’d better go to Chongqing to find out. Don’t guess from so far away.”
I continued my questioning, and finally the mayor said: “This financial reporter isn’t interested in the economy, only gossip.”
Quickly, I said: “Mr. Mayor, it is not gossip, it is the rule of law … ”
But before I could finish, I was separated from the mayor.