For­eign re­porters praise China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to carry out re­forms

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA SOUNDBITES -

Ev­ery time I have been as­signed to cover China’s top an­nual po­lit­i­cal event, the two ses­sions, I have al­ways en­joyed con­ver­sa­tions I had about it out­side the Great Hall of the People with dif­fer­ent people, like talkative taxi driv­ers and grand­moth­ers dancing on the square near my home.

They have never failed to im­press me with their hi­lar­i­ous but hon­est an­swers and pro­pos­als for their congress and govern­ment.

This year, I chose re­porters from the for­eign press at the on­go­ing two ses­sions.

Evgeny Kuzmin, 30, a Rus­sian re­porter from the Vos­tok-Me­dia News Agency based in Vladi­vos­tok, told me that he had dif­fi­culty find­ing a seat in the Great Hall of the People on Wed­nes­day be­fore Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang de­liv­ered the Govern­ment Work Re­port. This is the fourth time Kuzmin has cov­ered the two ses­sions.

It seemed that Kuzmin was more in­ter­ested in how the Chi­nese govern­ment will im­ple­ment its prom­ises on tol­er­ate that, no mat­ter what ex­cuses the ter­ror­ists have,” Kuzmin said.

Leo Lewis, a re­porter from the Lon­don news­pa­per The Times, was im­pressed by Li’s de­ci­sive words on curb­ing pol­lu­tion. He also wanted to see how China’s fast ur­ban­iza­tion will fi­nally in­flu­ence the house­hold reg­is­tra­tion, or hukou, sys­tem.

Lewis said he be­lieved that he saw the new govern­ment’s de­ter­mi­na­tion on re­forms.

“I am in­ter­ested to see how China will con­tinue to free its in­ter­est rates from its State-owned bank­ing sys­tem,” he said. “Chi­nese people are strongly in­no­va­tive in the fi­nan­cial sys­tem, for ex­am­ple, with Yu’ebao, an e-bank­ing plat­form. It now de­pends on how the govern­ment will use the grow­ing force from its mar­ket econ­omy.”

Michael Sheridan, Far East cor­re­spon­dent for The Sun­day Times, heard Li’s re­port from be­gin­ning to end.

“China faces hard choices in its re­forms. It re­minds me of the sit­u­a­tion that the Thatcher govern­ment once had,” he said.

“It is never easy to make changes in any so­cial sys­tem, since change means some people have to lose in­ter­ests and author­ity.

“From Li’s re­port, I feel strongly that the Chi­nese govern­ment is no longer hid­ing from prob­lems. It is so out­spo­ken in face of the re­al­i­ties,” Sheridan con­tin­ued.

“My col­leagues and I got visas very quickly from the Chi­nese em­bassy in Lon­don this year. I take it as a sign that this govern­ment will be more open.”

Eric Meyer, Bei­jing bureau chief for French news­pa­per Les Dernieres Nou­velles d’Al­sace, has re­ported on the two ses­sions for 24 years.

“It is the first time the Chi­nese govern­ment has ac­knowl­edged that the en­vi­ron­ment is ex­tremely im­por­tant,” Meyer said.

“China does face se­ri­ous is­sues like cor­rup­tion and pol­lu­tion. I am in­ter­ested to see how the streams of re­form will wa­ter the big tree,” he said, para­phras­ing Li. Con­tact the writer at wan­gru@chi­

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