Home Economy News China ends 30-year tradition: premier’s annual press conference

China ends 30-year tradition: premier’s annual press conference


China ends 30-year tradition: premier’s annual press conference By Reuters

Breaking News



Published Mar 04, 2024 01:48AM ET
Updated Mar 04, 2024 10:44AM ET

© Reuters. Military band members rehearse on the day of the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 4, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo

By Liz Lee, Albee Zhang and Yew Lun Tian

BEIJING (Reuters) -China has scrapped one of the most widely-followed events on its economic and policy calendar, the premier’s post-parliament news conference, a move seen by some observers as a sign of the country’s increasingly inward focus and centralised control.

For three decades, during a period when China was opening up, the briefing had offered foreign investors and governments insights into how Chinese policymakers regard the challenges of managing what is now the world’s second-largest economy.

In a surprise announcement on Monday, a spokesman said China’s Premier Li Qiang will not brief the media at the close of this year’s annual parliamentary meeting, which begins on Tuesday in Beijing.

Moreover, barring special circumstances, Li will hold no such annual press conferences for the remaining term of China’s parliament ending in 2027, National People’s Congress spokesman Lou Qinjian said.

Since 1993, China’s premiers have met the media after the annual parliament gathering, taking wide-ranging questions from Chinese and foreign journalists in news conferences broadcast live globally.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, China had actively sought to elucidate its politics and policies in a bid to attract foreign investment and boost trade.

“China was heading towards an era of opening up. Now it is heading towards an era of isolation, as shown by the cancelled premier news conference,” said Chen Daoyin, a independent political commentator who formerly taught at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

Lou said the premier’s news conference was cancelled because there would be more briefings on diplomacy, the economy and the livelihoods of the people by government ministers during the week-long parliament meeting.

The premier’s annual meet-the-press session used to be the highlight of the parliamentary meeting, because as the head of the State Council and the main person tasked to run economic policy, he was seen as speaking with more authority and more big-picture perspective than cabinet ministers.

At the close of the annual parliament session last year, Li sought to reassure the country’s private sector in his first media conference as premier.

While premiers generally toe the Communist Party line in their answers, some have in the past used the news conference to express views that struck a different tone.

For example, Li Qiang’s predecessor, Li Keqiang, said in 2020 that 600 million Chinese earned less than $140 per month, a revelation that stood in stark contrast with the official line that China had eradicated rural poverty.

Wen-Ti Sung, a political scientist at the Australian National University, said that scraping the premier’s news conference is Beijing’s effort to further control the narrative about the state of China.

This does not mean that President Xi Jinping distrusts Li Qiang, the current premier, Sung said.

“This is consistent with their relations with Xi playing policy architect and Li playing Xi’s faithful policy implementer.”

“Willingly stepping away from the limelight is an act of loyalty,” Sung said.

China ends 30-year tradition: premier’s annual press conference

Our Apps

Terms And Conditions
Privacy Policy
Risk Warning
Do not sell my personal information

© 2007-2024 Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

Related News