US me­dia wanted ‘spe­cial priv­i­leges’

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG YUNBI andWUJIAO

The United States’ “ob­ses­sion with spe­cial priv­i­leges” lies be­hind sev­eral US me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ac­cu­sa­tion that China treated US re­porters rudely dur­ing the G20 Lead­ers Sum­mit in Hangzhou, sources said.

The sources, who are close to the mat­ter, re­sponded on con­di­tion of anonymity to news re­ports and opin­ion pieces in some US news­pa­pers that ac­cused China of fail­ing to meet the US me­dia de­mands.

They faulted China first with not al­low­ing some US re­porters to be close to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama as he got off Air Force One in Hangzhou on Satur­day.

Obama said on Sun­day, how­ever, that his talks on Satur­day with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping had been “ex­tremely pro­duc­tive” and that he “wouldn’t over­crank the sig­nif­i­cance” of ar­gu­ments that took place at the air­port upon his ar­rival.

The Wall Street Jour­nal com­plained that on Satur­day “the Chi­nese barred Mr Obama from in­clud­ing his trav­el­ing press con­tin­gent in his mo­tor­cade”.

The New York Times said on Tues­day that “The White House press corps, which nor­mally has ac­cess to the pres­i­dent’s pub­lic events wher­ever he trav­els, has been se­questered in buses 200 yards from the site of the Group of 20, with­out ac­cess to food or toi­lets.”

In re­sponse, a Chi­nese source told China Daily that the US, brush­ing aside com­mon jour­nal­is­tic prac­tice in mul­ti­lat­eral meet­ings, in­sisted on hav­ing a bus car­ry­ing about 20 US re­porters fol­low Obama’s mo­tor­cade di­rectly to sum­mit hall where closed-door meet­ings were held.

Nor­mally, how­ever, host coun­tries of ma­jor mul­ti­lat­eral meet­ings have jour­nal­ists gather as a pool in the news cen­ter and have them go through rou­tine se­cu­rity checks be­fore they are led to the meeting hall.

An­other source at the scene told China Daily that “the bus was of course not al­lowed to join the mo­tor­cade, ac­cord­ing to press rules, and we ar­ranged for the re­porters to go to the news cen­ter. But some of them chose to stay on the bus, while some went to the bath­rooms or the press cen­ter at the sum­mit.”

The New York Times re­ported that when Xi and Obama took a leisurely stroll af­ter din­ner on Satur­day, “Chi­nese se­cu­rity cut the num­ber of US jour­nal­ists al­lowed to wit­ness it to three from the orig­i­nal six, then ul­ti­mately to a sin­gle reporter”.

But a sec­ond Chi­nese source said China “had never promised to al­low six re­porters”.

“Be­cause the lake­side path was too nar­row for that many re­porters, we pro­posed one on one — one reporter from the US and the other from China. Later, the US agreed it was a good ar­range­ment,” the source said.

When asked about the meeting be­tween Xi and Obama and the so-called in­ci­dents, Mark Toner, deputy US State Depart­ment spokesman said at a news brief­ing on Tues­day that the “small in­ci­dents that took place on the pe­riph­ery” do not take away from “the strong co­op­er­a­tion that we’ve had with China on a num­ber of fronts over the past sev­eral years of this ad­min­is­tra­tion”.

A Chi­nese source said: “It is com­mon to make some de­mands, but the de­mands should not cross the line. The US should not be an ex­cep­tion.”

The sources added that no other coun­try de­manded the priv­i­leges that the US sought, and “China had ev­ery rea­son to pro­vide con­ve­nient ar­range­ments to for­eign re­porters” be­cause it wished to suc­cess­fully host the sum­mit.

It is com­mon to make some de­mands, but the de­mands should not cross the line.”

Con­tact the writer at zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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