Two sessions produce dynamic media battlefield as reporters clash

By Yu Jincui Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-12 20:38:01

China's two sessions, convene over 5,000 lawmakers and political advisors every year. As China's most important political convention, it's not only a platform to discuss and navigate China's development, but also a battlefield for the media with more than 3,100 Chinese and foreign reporters covering the event.

Competition in this battlefield is particularly tense. A journalist who doesn't want to ask a question at press conferences during the two sessions is not a good journalist; also, a journalist who fails to interview a minister or a celebrity representative during the political event is not a good journalist.

To win this spectacular conflict, reporters spot at the two sessions have to try to push the envelope.

Waiting becomes the easiest thing as it requires no innovation and only needs you to leave your warm bed earlier in freezing windy mornings.

It's reported that some arrived at the east gate of the Great Hall of the People at round 1 am, waiting nearly nine hours earlier in hope of grasping the best position for interviews at the opening ceremony of the Third Session of the 12th National People's Congress, during which Premier Li Keqiang delivered his government work report.

I don't know whether this is true, but I reached the entrance two hours earlier before the event started and I found there had already been approximately 300 reporters waiting in line and a hundred more scattered in the square preparing for stopping deputies to take questions. As a Japanese correspondent who stood behind me in the queue said, you could only see this in China.

Waiting is only the initial step. In order to get exclusive "news," you must rack your brains to be singled out at activities arranged including press conferences and meetings with the media.

Besides, you need to tactically chase after big names, getting news materials from people who are usually not easily interviewed.

I was taught by experienced reporters to dress up in brightly colored suit, such as red, yellow and pink to attract the spokesperson's attention. However, being an elegant lady and putting up hands quietly could hardly bring you luck by itself, especially when you face competitors who resort to other cunning tactics such as waving brilliantly colored scarves or stepping on the seats or bringing ladders to make themselves conspicuous.

At the Q&A session of the open door session of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a question chance was given to a reporter from Hong Kong who stood on her seat, asking Party Chief of Xinjiang Zhang Chunxian whether there are Uyghurs attempting to join the IS.

On the day of the International Women's Day, some female reporters reportedly successfully questioned some ministers using the excuse that they deserved an interview chance as a holiday gift.

The media war mirrors the dynamic public opinion environment during the two sessions, in which the majority of deputies to the National People's Congress and members of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have become more vocal in interactions with the media. Questions centering on topics such as economic growth, corruption, smog control, income distribution and deepening reforms have been poured on them, which will let them know where public concerns lie.

In recent years, the political advisors and lawmakers have become more open to the media, and some hotly chased big names even organized personal press conferences responding to media's hunting.

The two sessions are a platform that discusses political and economic developments and where people can deliver their suggestions or proposals and their insights over hot topics of public concern. The fiercer the media war is, the more active and dynamic the two sessions are.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

Posted in: Viewpoint

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