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China's top political advisory body invites foreign reporters before annual session

03-01-2011 21:32 BJT

BEIJING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body, opened its door to 43 correspondents from 33 overseas media outlets on Wednesday, 10 days ahead of its upcoming annual session.

It was the first time that the top political advisory body invited a group of overseas journalists, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, to tour its work place, which used to be the site of an imperial compound 100 years ago.

The media tour was hailed by Zhao Qizheng, head of the CPPCC's Committee of Foreign Affairs, as a move that reflects the "enhanced openness" of the CPPCC.

During the tour, resident reporters from countries and regions such as the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan visited the CPPCC auditorium and a gallery that exhibits the agency's history and its role in Chinese political life through numerous pictures and relics.

Located in downtown Beijing, the CPPCC was established on September 21, 1949. It is a patriotic united front organization for Chinese people and serves as a key mechanism for multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The main functions of the CPPCC are to conduct political consultations, exercise democratic supervision and participate in the discussion and the handling of state affairs. Reporters raised many questions during the visit.

Watanabe Yasuhito, a staff correspondent for the Kyodo News China General Bureau, has been working in China for four years. "As Japan doesn't have similar institutions like the CPPCC, the Japanese generally have little idea of it," he said. "I now have a more direct idea of the system by actually walking into the CPPCC."

He told Xinhua that Kyodo News would send eight reporters to the upcoming two annual sessions of China's National People's Congress (NPC), its national legislature and the CPPCC, as many Japanese pay close attention to the major political events in China.

He said the 12th Five-Year Program and hot economic issues are among their key concerns. At a one-hour seminar held during the tour, five reporters put forward nearly 10 questions to Zhao Qizheng.

Ananth Krishnan, the China correspondent of the Hindu, India's national newspaper, has covered the "two sessions" several times. "I think the next five year plan will be one of the most important issues," he said.

"We will be interested to see whether there are any new policies in terms of China addressing environmental challenges," he said.

He added that he focused on China's reform for the household registration system at the sessions last year so that he could see how China addressed the gap between urban and rural areas.

"There are similar developmental challenges between India and China since we are both large developing countries with more poverty in rural populations. So we are interested to see how China is addressing the challenges," he said.

With the application still going on, overseas reporters who are to cover this year's annual CPPCC session are expected to exceed 1,100, similar to the figure last year, said Zhang Jing'an, head of the Bureau of News Service of the CPPCC's National Committee.

Zhang said that besides the three news conferences in the Great Hall of People, five press conferences are devoted to issues such as China's urbanization, scientific innovation, culture and education. Conferences will also be arranged in the news center following annual sessions.

Also, the number of panel discussions that were open to the media increased from more than 30 in 2007 to 122 in 2010, Zhang said.

Zhao Qizheng told overseas reporters that "the CPPCC will continue to enhance openness during the upcoming session and welcome reporters from both here and abroad to cover the session."

China's two annual sessions, the fourth session of the National Committee of the 11th CPPCC and the fourth session of the 11th NPC, will open on March 3 and March 5, respectively.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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