Japanese reporter questions China’s purpose behind inoculating foreign journalists. FM responds with dignity, grace
Published: Mar 24, 2021 05:43 PM
Hu Chunying Photo: VCG

Hu Chunying Photo: VCG

Some 150 foreign journalists from 27 countries who work in China chose to receive Chinese COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday, with many expressing their gratitude to China and some even calling the vaccine a present of spring, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Foreign Ministry offered the opportunity to foreign journalists out of concerns for their health and work, as many of them had asked whether the ministry could help them get inoculated with Chinese vaccines, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at Wednesday's media briefing. 

Hua made the remarks after a Japanese journalist who was among those vaccinated on Tuesday asked Hua the purpose of the vaccination of foreign journalists and what effect the Chinese government expects it to have. 

Hua asked him whether he had been vaccinated, and after he gave a positive answer, Hua said that she was a bit shocked by his question. 

"Some may worry that China may be attempting to do this for promotion. So you should note that we did no shooting and no reports on the vaccination of foreign journalists," Hua said. 

In response to the concerns of foreign journalists and out of concern for their health, the ministry coordinated with relevant departments to have them vaccinated, including their family members of eligible age, on the basis of being informed, doing it voluntarily, at their own expense and their own risk, Hua said. 

"Many were eager to sign up for the vaccination after getting our notice," Hua said, noting that nearly 150 foreign journalists from 71 media outlets and 27 countries were inoculated with Chinese vaccines on Tuesday.

"They thanked my colleagues and other staff, and some even believed it was a present of spring and said they would call on other foreign journalists in China to get vaccinated," Hua said.

 She stressed that the only purpose was to meet the concerns of foreign journalists in China, so as to facilitate their work and lives in the country and at the same time care more about their health. 

Later on Wednesday, the Japanese reporter, Masato Sato from TV Tokyo who asked Hua the question, told the Global Times that the way the question was presented was a misunderstanding, and that he had no ill intention when asking the question.  

He said he was trying to ask about China's expectations, but did not realize that the tone turned a bit strong after he translated the question from Japanese to English and then was relayed by the interpreter into Chinese, and he will practice his English and Chinese more. 

Being inoculated is convenient for his work, and he learned that a large number of people have been inoculated in China and did not show any adverse effects, he said, noting that he will receive a second shot on April 13.

As of Tuesday, China has administered nearly 83 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.