中共为什么取消总理记者会?|两会|总理记者会|国务院|李强|习近平|朱镕基|温家宝|李克强|王局拍案20240306

王局拍案
6 Mar 202436:49

Summary

TLDRThe script critically analyzes the significant announcement of China's Premier Li Qiang not holding the traditional press conference following the National People's Congress, ending a 35-year tradition. It dissects the reasons given for the cancellation and delves into its implications, positioning it as a symbolic end to an era of limited openness. The script offers insights into the evolving power dynamics between the Premier and the Communist Party, speculating that Li Qiang himself may have instigated the decision to avoid potential missteps that could displease Xi Jinping. It raises thought-provoking questions about the future trajectory of China's political transparency.

Takeaways

  • 😐 The premier's annual press conference after China's Two Sessions (legislative meetings) has been canceled this year, breaking a 30-year tradition.
  • 😶 The reasons given for the cancellation, such as the premier already clarifying plans for 5 years or increased ministerial press conferences, are seen as unconvincing excuses.
  • 🤫 Domestic comments and shares about this news are being heavily controlled and censored on Chinese social media platforms.
  • 🌍 The cancellation has drawn significant attention and speculation from foreign media, as the press conference was a rare opportunity to interact with China's leadership.
  • 🤝 In the past, foreign journalists' questions were pre-approved by Chinese authorities, diminishing the spontaneity of the exchange.
  • 👨‍💼 The current premier, Li Qiang, is seen as lacking ambition to counterbalance Xi Jinping's power and is willing to forgo the press conference to avoid potential conflicts.
  • 🔒 Li Qiang has revised the State Council's working rules to position it as an execution organ of the CCP Central Committee led by Xi Jinping, rather than an independent body.
  • 💂‍♀️ The cancellation signifies the end of an era of limited openness and communication between China's leadership and foreign media.
  • 🤔 The script questions whether this political reality of increasing centralization of power is ultimately good or bad for Chinese society's development.
  • 🌊 Despite the cancellation, the script expresses optimism that China's development will brave the challenges and have a promising future.

Q & A

  • What is the significance of the cancellation of the Premier's press conference after the Two Sessions this year?

    -The cancellation of the Premier's press conference after the Two Sessions marks the end of an era of limited openness in China's political system. For over 30 years, the Premier's press conference served as a platform for the Chinese government to communicate with domestic and foreign media, albeit with restrictions. The absence of this event signifies a further departure from transparency and a shift towards greater centralization of power.

  • Why did Premier Li Qiang decide not to hold a press conference?

    -According to the analysis in the script, the decision to cancel the press conference was likely made by Li Qiang himself, rather than being imposed by Xi Jinping. Li Qiang, being a close ally of Xi and not intending to counterbalance him, may have deemed the press conference unnecessary and potentially troublesome. By not holding the conference, Li Qiang avoids any potential missteps that could displease Xi Jinping.

  • How has the role of the State Council changed under Li Qiang's leadership?

    -After becoming Premier, Li Qiang revised the working rules of the State Council, transforming it from a nominal executive body of the National People's Congress (NPC) into an execution organ of the Communist Party Central Committee. The new rules emphasize implementing the decisions of the Party Central Committee, reporting significant matters to the Party, and removing provisions on government transparency and public disclosure of information.

  • What was the initial purpose of the Premier's press conference?

    -Initially, the primary purpose of holding the Premier's press conference was to allow foreign media journalists to interact with and understand the direction of China's government policies. Foreign media was given priority in obtaining press credentials and asking questions during the conference.

  • How did the focus of the Premier's press conference shift over time?

    -Over the years, the Premier's press conference gradually shifted its focus from catering to foreign media to making domestic announcements. Premiers like Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang used the platform to address domestic issues and concerns, rather than solely engaging with foreign journalists.

  • What restrictions were imposed on foreign media's questions at the Premier's press conference?

    -Starting from 2004, foreign media journalists had to communicate their intended questions in advance with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National People's Congress. Their questions were pre-approved and reviewed by the Chinese authorities, limiting their ability to ask spontaneous or sensitive questions.

  • How did the public react to the news of the cancellation of the Premier's press conference?

    -Within China, the reaction from ordinary citizens was muted, with comments and shares on social media being controlled or censored. However, foreign media paid significant attention to this development, analyzing its implications for transparency and government openness in China.

  • What were some of the notable comments made by previous Premiers during their press conferences?

    -The script highlights notable comments made by Premiers like Zhu Rongji, who expressed determination to carry out economic reforms, and Wen Jiabao, who acknowledged the need for political system reform to avoid potential tragedies like the Cultural Revolution. Such candid remarks were rare but impactful during the Premier's press conferences.

  • How did the script evaluate the potential consequences of the cancellation of the Premier's press conference?

    -The script does not provide a definitive evaluation of the consequences but raises questions about whether the cancellation is ultimately good or bad for the development of Chinese society. It acknowledges that this decision reflects the current political reality in China but leaves the interpretation open-ended.

  • What does the script suggest about Xi Jinping's stance on the cancellation of the Premier's press conference?

    -According to the analysis in the script, Xi Jinping does not appear to consider the cancellation of the Premier's press conference as a particularly important matter. The script suggests that since Li Qiang did not wish to hold the conference, Xi Jinping agreed to break the 35-year tradition, indicating that he does not prioritize the Premier's public presence or transparency in this context.

Outlines

00:00

🗣️ China's Two Sessions and the Canceled Premier's Press Conference

This paragraph introduces China's Two Sessions, the biggest annual political event, and the Premier's press conference that traditionally follows it. However, this year, it was announced that Premier Li Qiang would not hold a press conference after the sessions, breaking a 30-year tradition. This announcement caused a stir domestically and internationally, as the Premier's press conference was highly anticipated and served as an opportunity for domestic and foreign media to interact with China's leadership.

05:01

🌐 The Significance of the Premier's Press Conference for Foreign Media

The paragraph highlights the importance of the Premier's press conference for foreign media. It was often the only opportunity for foreign reporters to interact with and ask questions to China's Premier. The questions asked during these press conferences also served as a barometer for understanding issues in Chinese society. The cancellation of the press conference this year has raised speculation among foreign media about the reasons behind this decision.

10:05

🕰️ A Brief History of China's Premier's Press Conferences

This paragraph provides a historical overview of China's Premier's press conferences, tracing its origins back to 1988. It highlights how the nature and purpose of these press conferences have evolved over time, shifting from primarily addressing foreign media to focusing more on domestic announcements. It also discusses the gradual introduction of restrictions on the questions foreign journalists could ask, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pre-approving them.

15:07

🎙️ The Evolution of the Premier's Press Conference

The paragraph continues the historical account of China's Premier's press conferences, discussing the unique styles and approaches of different Premiers, such as Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao. It highlights how these press conferences allowed the Premiers to express their personal flair and make impactful statements. The paragraph also notes how the press conferences became a rich source of news and drew significant attention from domestic and international media.

20:07

🌐 Foreign Media Perspectives on the Canceled Press Conference

This paragraph discusses the perspectives of foreign media on the cancellation of the Premier's press conference. It highlights the significance of the press conference for foreign journalists, as it provided a rare opportunity to interact with China's leadership and understand the country's policies. The paragraph also touches on the gradual introduction of restrictions on the questions foreign journalists could ask, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pre-approving them.

25:13

🤔 Pondering the Reasons Behind the Cancellation

The paragraph delves into potential reasons behind the cancellation of the Premier's press conference. It refutes the notion that it was a humiliation for Premier Li Qiang by Xi Jinping, as Li Qiang and Xi Jinping are from the same camp, and Li Qiang likely made the decision himself. The paragraph suggests that Li Qiang may not want a strong presence as Premier and has positioned the State Council as an execution organ of the CCP Central Committee, making the press conference less important.

30:14

🔄 The Changing Role of the State Council and the Premier

This paragraph discusses the changes Li Qiang made to the working rules of the State Council, effectively turning it from an executive body of the NPC into an execution organ of the CCP Central Committee. It highlights how the revised rules emphasize implementing the CCP Central Committee's decisions and reporting to it, while removing provisions on transparency and public disclosure. The paragraph suggests that Li Qiang willingly embraced this shift, aligning with Xi Jinping's vision, and saw little value in holding press conferences as a result.

35:16

🔮 Reflections on China's Political Reality and Future

The final paragraph reflects on the political reality in China, where the Premier's press conference, a symbol of limited openness, has been abolished. It ponders whether this reality is ultimately good or bad for China's development and society. The paragraph concludes with a series of impactful quotes from past Premiers, highlighting the challenges and aspirations of China's leaders throughout history.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Two Sessions

The 'Two Sessions' refers to the annual plenary meetings of China's top legislative and consultative bodies: the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). It is considered the biggest political event in China and a window into the country's policy directions and leadership changes. The script discusses how the news surrounding the Two Sessions itself is typically scripted, but the Premier's press conference after the sessions often becomes a newsworthy event.

💡Premier's Press Conference

The Premier's press conference is an annual event where China's Premier answers questions from Chinese and foreign media after the conclusion of the Two Sessions. It has been a tradition for over 30 years, allowing the Premier to interact with journalists, address public concerns, and showcase government transparency. The script focuses on the cancellation of this year's Premier's press conference, which has caused speculation and is seen as a significant departure from the past.

💡Openness and Transparency

These concepts refer to the Chinese government's willingness to engage with the media, particularly foreign journalists, and provide information about its policies and decision-making processes. The Premier's press conference was seen as a limited channel for openness and transparency, allowing foreign media to ask questions directly to the Premier. The cancellation of the press conference is viewed by some as a step back from this limited openness.

💡Rubber Stamp

The term 'rubber stamp' is used to describe the National People's Congress (NPC), implying that it merely approves decisions made by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) without meaningful debate or opposition. The script suggests that the NPC's procedures, while formally carried out, serve more as a symbolic exercise rather than a genuine legislative body, as the CCP holds the real power.

💡Xi Jinping's Power Consolidation

The script discusses how the cancellation of the Premier's press conference may be a reflection of Xi Jinping's consolidation of power and the diminishing role of the Premier. It suggests that the Premier, Li Qiang, has become an extension of Xi's authority, executing the CCP Central Committee's decisions rather than acting as a counterbalance or check on power.

💡Political System Reform

The term refers to the need for reforms within China's political system, as expressed by former Premier Wen Jiabao in one of his press conferences quoted in the script. He highlighted that without successful political system reform, economic reforms cannot be fully implemented, and historical tragedies like the Cultural Revolution could happen again. This concept underscores the importance of the Premier's press conference as a platform for addressing sensitive political issues.

💡Income Inequality

The script cites former Premier Li Keqiang's comments about income inequality in China, where the average annual income is 30,000 yuan, but 600 million people earn only 1,000 yuan per month, which is insufficient even for renting in medium-sized cities. This example illustrates how the Premier's press conference provided a platform to acknowledge and discuss sensitive domestic issues like income disparities.

💡Foreign Media

The script discusses the role of foreign media in the Premier's press conference. It was traditionally seen as an opportunity for foreign journalists to interact with China's leadership and understand government policies. However, over time, the questions from foreign media became subject to pre-approval by the Chinese authorities, limiting their ability to ask probing questions freely.

💡Domestic Public Opinion

The script mentions how the cancellation of the Premier's press conference has sparked a significant reaction among the domestic public, with many interested in watching and following the event. However, it also notes that public discourse and comments on the matter are being heavily controlled or censored on social media platforms like Sina Weibo and Toutiao.

💡Frugality

One of the reasons cited by the spokesperson for the cancellation of the Premier's press conference is the need for frugality in managing the Two Sessions this year. The script questions this reasoning, arguing that the cost of holding a press conference is relatively minimal compared to the potential loss of a platform for the Premier to interact with the public and media.

Highlights

The annual press conference by China's Premier after the Two Sessions has been a decades-long tradition, providing a rare opportunity for foreign media to interact with and understand the direction of China's government policies.

In the past, there was limited communication and openness, as foreign media journalists could ask questions without pre-approval, although there were some tacit understandings.

Over time, restrictions increased, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began pre-approving questions that foreign journalists could ask the Premier during the press conferences.

The Premier's press conference became a source of news and reactions, as statements made during the conferences often revealed information and sparked discussions, both domestically and internationally.

This year, the spokesperson for the National People's Congress announced that there would be no Premier's press conference after the closing of the 14th National People's Congress's second session, marking a significant departure from tradition.

The decision to cancel the Premier's press conference is believed to have been made by Premier Li Qiang himself, rather than Xi Jinping, as the decision was limited to Li Qiang's term as Premier.

Li Qiang has positioned himself as an executor of the CCP Central Committee's decisions, revising the State Council's working rules to align with Xi Jinping's slogans and emphasize reporting to the CCP Central Committee.

For Li Qiang, holding a press conference is seen as more trouble than it's worth, as he aims to avoid any potential displeasure from Xi Jinping due to missteps during the press conference.

Xi Jinping is willing to allow Li Qiang to stop holding press conferences, breaking the 35-year tradition, as he does not consider it a particularly important matter and is unconcerned with how it is interpreted by outsiders.

The cancellation of the Premier's press conference is seen as the end of an era of limited openness and communication with foreign media, reflecting the current political reality in China.

Statements from past Premiers during their press conferences, such as those by Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao, resonated strongly and revealed insights into societal issues and the need for political reform.

The Premier's press conference was initially focused on demonstrating the Chinese government's attitude to foreign journalists but gradually shifted towards making domestic announcements.

The arrangement of the Premier's press conference has evolved, with domestic journalists often having pre-arranged questions, while foreign journalists faced increasing restrictions on their questions.

Foreign media have expressed frustration with the pre-approval process for their questions, as it turns the press conference into a tool for cooperating with the CCP's performance.

The decision to cancel the Premier's press conference raises questions about the future development of Chinese society and whether it is ultimately good or bad for the country's progress.

Transcripts

00:30

The meeting has started, the meeting has started!

00:31

China's Two Sessions have opened.

00:33

The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference opens on March 4th, and the National People's Congress opens on March 5th.

00:37

This is the biggest event of the year in the political life of the Chinese people.

00:42

Every time the Two Sessions open, People's Daily and Xinhua News Agency always say this.

00:46

As for whether it is or not, we don't know.

00:49

The news about the Two Sessions has one characteristic,

00:50

which is that the news about the Two Sessions itself hardly becomes news,

00:54

because it's all scripted in advance.

00:56

Are there any objections?

00:57

No.

00:59

No.

01:02

No, no, approved.

01:08

Everyone tacitly understands each other,

01:10

what the outcome will be beforehand, you know it before we even vote.

01:14

But the news about the Two Sessions often becomes news,

01:18

like who had what expression when voting,

01:20

or who was carried out, etc.

01:33

These become the hot spots that domestic and foreign media pay attention to during the Two Sessions.

01:37

Sometimes they also become major news.

01:39

This year is no exception.

01:40

On March 4th, the day before the National People's Congress convened,

01:44

the spokesperson for the National People's Congress, Lou Qinjian,

01:47

held a press conference.

01:48

He answered some procedural questions about this year's National People's Congress meeting.

01:53

At this press conference, a big news broke.

01:56

I am a reporter from China News Service, Chinanews.com.

01:58

After the closing of the 14th National People's Congress's second session this year,

02:02

will you invite the Premier of the State Council to attend a press conference

02:04

and answer questions from Chinese and foreign journalists, thank you.

02:07

Taking all these arrangements into consideration,

02:10

after the closing of the 14th National People's Congress's second session this year,

02:15

there will not be a Premier's press conference.

02:18

Unless there are special circumstances, in the next few years of this National People's Congress,

02:24

there will also be no Premier's press conference.

02:27

Actually, the question asked by this China News Service reporter is somewhat intriguing.

02:31

Think about it, every year after the Two Sessions,

02:34

the Premier always holds a press conference.

02:36

This practice has been going on for over 30 years.

02:38

So why, before this year's press conference,

02:43

did the China News Service reporter ask such a question?

02:46

Asking whether the Premier will still hold a press conference,

02:50

and her question and Comrade Lou Qinjian's

02:53

responses matched perfectly together.

02:57

It seems like the China News Service reporter already knew in advance

03:01

that Premier Li Qiang will not hold a press conference after this year's Two Sessions.

03:05

So, what a coincidence,

03:06

it appears this was arranged in advance.

03:10

Definitely, Comrade Lou Qinjian had already informed the China News Service reporter

03:14

that Premier Li Qiang will not hold a press conference after this year's Two Sessions.

03:18

But, I'm too embarrassed to say it outright, so look, you ask,

03:22

I'll answer.

03:22

So, that's how this news came about.

03:26

It should be said that after this news broke,

03:28

it immediately caused a huge reaction both domestically and internationally.

03:31

But I need to correct that statement.

03:33

When I say it caused a huge reaction domestically and internationally,

03:36

domestically, it has to be divided into two parts.

03:39

First, there are the ordinary citizens within the country,

03:40

anyone who cares about current political news would have a huge reaction.

03:43

Because, after all, the Premier's press conference after the Two Sessions every year

03:48

is something many people care about and want to watch, and it has very high viewership ratings. But now, it's not happening.

03:52

Then, the reason it's not happening is something everyone is speculating about,

03:56

so, of course, this is a huge reaction.

03:59

But, you wouldn't know it from public opinion.

04:01

I've observed, including on Sina Weibo and Toutiao,

04:05

posts about this news, and there are almost no comments below them.

04:09

Nothing, zero.

04:11

And in the share section, there are no opinions, just shares.

04:14

So what is it? All comments and shares are being controlled.

04:19

Now, if you search for "Premier's press conference canceled" on Sina Weibo,

04:24

according to legal regulations, it is no longer displayed.

04:27

Also, NetEase had once made an article a few years ago

04:30

called "The Past and Present of the Premier's Press Conference",

04:34

which was deleted shortly after this press conference.

04:38

Because that article reviewed the history of the Premier's press conferences,

04:43

and talked about government openness, transparency, etc.,

04:47

all of which were "shot down" in the process and deleted.

04:51

But in the foreign media part, there's indeed a lot of attention.

04:54

Think about it, China's Premier's press conference has two features.

04:58

The first feature

05:00

is that it's the foreign media reporters' once-a-year, almost only opportunity

05:05

to interact with the Premier of China's State Council.

05:08

Because these premiers of China's State Council

05:11

don't usually engage in interviews or press conferences with foreign reporters,

05:15

the only opportunity is after the Two Sessions,

05:18

there's this press conference.

05:21

And during this press conference,

05:23

foreign media reporters often get the opportunity to ask questions, so it's very valuable.

05:27

That's one point.

05:29

The second point

05:30

is that the Premier's press conference often serves as a barometer of issues.

05:37

The questions he answers

05:38

also serve as a very important window for understanding Chinese society.

05:43

So think about it,

05:44

if it's not happening anymore, and it's been happening for 30 years until it suddenly stopped this year,

05:48

foreign media start to speculate about the reasons.

05:52

Sure enough, on March 5th,

05:55

when Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was answering questions from foreign reporters,

05:58

A reporter from Agence France-Presse immediately asked a question about this issue.

06:02

Regarding the news arrangements for the second session of the 14th National People's Congress.

06:06

This morning, the spokesperson of the conference has already introduced the relevant situation.

06:09

I don't have any more information to add.

06:12

During the Two Sessions, all meetings of the conference will be open to both Chinese and foreign media.

06:18

At the opening ceremony, Premier Li Qiang will represent the State Council.

06:21

And deliver a government work report to the second session of the 14th National People's Congress.

06:25

In addition to the NPC press conference held this morning,

06:29

The conference will also organize press conferences, delegate corridors, ministerial passages,

06:33

Delegations, open group events, and other diverse interview activities to fully release information.

06:39

The press center of the Two Sessions will also uphold the spirit of openness and transparency.

06:43

Providing news services for Chinese and foreign journalists.

06:46

Clearly, Mao Ning did not dare to make any private interpretations.

06:51

So why was the Prime Minister's press conference canceled?

06:55

This time, in fact, when Lou Qinjian answered,

06:58

He roughly gave three reasons.

07:01

The first reason he mentioned is,

07:03

After the closing of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress,

07:07

Comrade Li Qiang, in answering questions from Chinese and foreign journalists,

07:12

Thoroughly expounded on the key issues of economic and social development that the media and society are generally concerned about,

07:19

And government self-construction, around the full implementation of the spirit of the 20th Party Congress and the decision-making deployment of the Party Central Committee.

07:26

And made an in-depth explanation, clearly outlining the work approach for the entire term.

07:32

It's like this, clarifying the matters of 5 years all at once.

07:35

Meaning, he has explained everything for the next 5 years in this manner.

07:38

That's the idea.

07:40

This reason is definitely not valid.

07:42

Think about our government work report,

07:45

It's always about the work of this year.

07:47

If Li Qiang had to do last year's government work report,

07:50

He couldn't possibly have clarified the situation for the next 5 years.

07:53

If he did clarify,

07:54

Then what does that imply?

07:55

It implies that for the past 30 years,

07:58

The annual press conferences held by the Prime Minister were superfluous.

08:02

You could have done it just once, right?

08:04

Then why hold the other four times? Aren't they redundant?

08:07

So if Premier Li Qiang clarified last year, there's no need to do it in the coming years.

08:11

This reason is definitely not valid.

08:14

That's the first point.

08:15

The second point,

08:16

The second session of the 14th National People's Congress is about to open tomorrow.

08:22

Premier Li Qiang will deliver a government work report.

08:27

The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, entrusted by the State Council,

08:32

Will submit a plan report and a budget report to the congress in writing.

08:39

It should be said that the main concerns of society

08:43

Are specifically addressed in the above three reports.

08:48

These three reports, once approved by the congress, will be published to the public.

08:54

The media and the public will be able to easily understand the relevant content.

09:00

Whether this reason is valid or not, I think it's not valid either.

09:03

Because these three reports, don't you have them every year at the Two Sessions?

09:07

Which Two Sessions did the Prime Minister not deliver a government work report,

09:11

The NDRC not deliver this plan report, the Ministry of Finance not deliver a budget report?

09:15

They all did.

09:15

Then why did past Prime Ministers still come out to accept interviews from journalists?

09:20

If this reason is valid,

09:22

Does it mean that the Prime Ministers of the Communist Party over the past 30-plus years

09:25

Accepting media interviews were all redundant?

09:29

If this logic holds, wouldn't it lead to such a conclusion?

09:32

That Wen Jiabao and Zhu Rongji were all redundant,

09:37

Being redundant for over 30 years

09:39

Until this government finally corrected the mistake?

09:42

Could this conclusion be drawn? Probably not.

09:45

That's the second point.

09:47

The third point,

09:48

The press center of the conference

09:50

Will increase the number of sessions and attendees for ministerial press conferences and ministerial passages.

10:00

Inviting principal officials from relevant departments of the State Council

10:04

To answer questions from Chinese and foreign journalists on topics such as diplomacy, economy, and people's livelihood.

10:13

Authoritative interpretation of relevant policies and measures,

10:16

Deep interpretation and explanation of social concerns.

10:21

Additionally, there will be open delegation group activities and good management of delegate corridors, etc.,

10:29

Providing more interview opportunities for Chinese and foreign journalists.

10:33

That means you journalists will still have opportunities to interview.

10:38

But I guess after he said that,

10:40

Foreign Minister Wang Yi must have been trembling inside.

10:44

Why?

10:45

Think about it, last year Qin Gang served as the Foreign Minister

10:49

And he held a press conference, right?

10:51

I knew today that the Taiwan issue would definitely be brought up,

10:54

So I specifically brought the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.

11:01

So, to answer your question,

11:03

First, I would like to quote two sentences from the preamble of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.

11:12

But a few days after this press conference, what happened? The person disappeared.

11:15

Vanished from the face of the Earth, to this day, neither alive nor found dead.

11:21

Now think about it, this year even the Prime Minister isn't showing up,

11:23

So the Foreign Minister becomes the highest-ranking official appearing.

11:27

That's an ominous sign.

11:29

Last year, Qin Gang brought out the Constitution

11:32

And it didn't save his position.

11:35

Now, if the Foreign Minister comes out under these circumstances,

11:39

Surely many foreign media journalists

11:41

Will ask the current Foreign Minister the questions meant for the Prime Minister.

11:45

If there's even a slight mishap,

11:46

It's definitely possible he might follow Qin Gang's fate.

11:50

So, the reasons given now don't hold up,

11:54

And he also gave another reason.

11:57

Saying that this year's Two Sessions should be frugally managed,

12:00

Comrade Lou Qinjian emphasized the importance of frugality in holding the Two Sessions.

12:04

Why should the annual meeting be frugally managed?

12:06

Look, the pandemic is over, right? Are we living frugally now?

12:09

I guess that's the reasoning.

12:10

And it can also be seen from the duration of the sessions,

12:13

This year's Two Sessions only last for 7 days.

12:16

You should know, historically, the National People's Congress has lasted up to 14 days at its longest.

12:21

But this year it's only 7 days. What does this 7 days mean?

12:24

7 days means it's on par with the three years during the pandemic.

12:29

Shorter than last year's 9 days, this so-called frugal management of the Two Sessions.

12:33

But I'm thinking, this reason for frugality doesn't seem very sufficient,

12:39

Think about it, how much could a press conference with the Prime Minister cost?

12:43

It's just a bit of the Prime Minister's energy, right?

12:45

Some tea for the attendees, a translator,

12:47

And then the National People's Congress renting a venue at the Great Hall of the People.

12:51

All in all, I think 500,000 yuan should be enough for a press conference.

12:56

Then think about it, if you save this 500,000, what do you lose?

13:00

You lose a window for the Prime Minister to interact with the public,

13:03

And an opportunity to deal with both domestic and foreign media. That's a greater loss.

13:09

If you really want to hold a frugal Two Sessions, even these 7 days are a bit much.

13:14

Why? Everyone knows the National People's Congress is just a rubber stamp.

13:19

Bringing delegates to Beijing, causing inconvenience and wasting resources,

13:23

Really isn't necessary.

13:25

In fact, in my view, the National People's Congress could just use Zoom or DingTalk.

13:30

Actually, that could work and save a lot of money.

13:34

But have you thought about the consequences of saving this money?

13:38

Then you're solidifying the National People's Congress as a mere rubber stamp.

13:43

Is it just rubber then?

13:45

Why are you bringing all these National People's Congress delegates to Beijing now?

13:49

It's to tell people around the world,

13:50

You may think it's a rubber stamp, but we don't think so.

13:53

See, they all came to Beijing for the meeting,

13:56

And they're clapping formally there,

13:59

Voting during the meeting, even casting votes.

14:02

Of course, if we're talking about substance,

14:04

These procedures could indeed be spared, unnecessary.

14:07

Using DingTalk, Zoom,

14:08

Any objections? Any objections?

14:11

No, no, no, then it's passed.

14:13

But then it makes people feel that the rubber stamp is confirmed.

14:17

In my view, if you also cancel the Prime Minister's press conference,

14:22

Then the loss is actually great.

14:24

The Prime Minister hardly has any power to begin with,

14:26

And now you're removing this formality of the Prime Minister meeting with journalists.

14:30

Doesn't that further prove the Prime Minister has no presence?

14:34

Isn't that a greater loss?

14:35

So, in my view, Comrade Lou Qinjian's four reasons do not hold water.

14:41

So, what exactly is the reason for the Prime Minister's cancellation of the press conference this time?

14:47

Next, I'll discuss my reasons.

14:50

Before answering this question,

14:51

We need to briefly review the history of China's Prime Minister's press conferences.

14:57

The first press conference of China's Prime Minister took place in 1988,

15:02

After the second session of the seventh NPC, with Li Peng leading the vice premiers of the State Council,

15:07

Including the Foreign Minister,

15:08

Sitting there to take questions from Chinese and foreign journalists.

15:10

I still remember

15:13

That year's press conference

15:16

Was not just the Prime Minister answering questions,

15:18

Vice Premier Zhu Rongji answered questions too,

15:20

Including Yao Yilin.

15:22

When Yao Yilin was answering questions,

15:24

Those questions were definitely prepared in advance,

15:26

So when Yao Yilin was answering,

15:28

He was also looking at the prepared questions on a small piece of paper.

15:32

After 1988, there was no Prime Minister's press conference in 1989,

15:36

As everyone knows what happened in 1989,

15:39

After the Tiananmen Square incident, Beijing was in chaos,

15:43

So the Prime Minister did not hold a press conference.

15:47

There were conferences in 1990 and 1991, but not in 1992,

15:51

Because in 1992 Deng Xiaoping embarked on his southern tour,

15:54

At a time of intense intra-party conflict.

15:58

Deng Xiaoping held a high-level party meeting in Zhuhai,

16:01

Calling military representatives to the meeting in Zhuhai,

16:05

Saying anyone who doesn't reform should get out.

16:08

At that time, Jiang Zemin in Beijing was still in the dark,

16:12

That is, Jiang Zemin, as the party's supreme leader, was not invited to the meeting.

16:18

So Beijing was watching Deng Xiaoping in the south,

16:21

Holding this meeting without knowing how to respond.

16:25

So no one dared to hold the press conference during the Two Sessions,

16:28

Because they were uncertain of Deng Xiaoping's attitude.

16:30

Therefore, the Prime Minister's press conference in 1992 was cancelled under such circumstances.

16:35

But from 1993 onwards, China's Prime Minister's press conferences continued without interruption,

16:42

Never missing a year.

16:44

Under Prime Minister Zhu Rongji,

16:45

The press conference was no longer attended by both the Prime Minister and Vice Premier; it was just him.

16:49

Just him alone.

16:51

During Zhu Rongji's tenure at the press conference,

16:54

He indeed was one of the most expressive Prime Ministers of the State Council.

16:58

We'll have the chance to talk more about Zhu Rongji,

17:01

Who was called the "economic czar" abroad,

17:03

Because when he took office as Prime Minister, China's reforms were in deep waters,

17:07

Facing two huge problems:

17:09

First, the dual-track price system,

17:11

And second, breaking the iron rice bowl of state-owned enterprises

17:14

These were actually the most crucial battles in the reform process of the planned or state-owned economy.

17:19

The two major battles were completed during Zhu Rongji's tenure as Premier.

17:22

So, when Zhu Rongji took office as Premier,

17:26

He uttered that famous statement,

17:28

Whether the outside world calls me China's Gorbachev,

17:29

Or the economic tsar, or whatever,

17:35

I'm not pleased.

17:39

Currently, my thoughts are very simple.

17:42

No matter if it's a minefield ahead or an abyss,

17:48

I will march forward, never look back, exert all my efforts, and rest only in death.

17:54

This statement, when it was made, indeed resonated like thunder,

18:08

And deeply moved many people.

18:13

So when I saw this press conference,

18:15

I felt that the Prime Minister's press conference

18:18

Had a bit of the flavor of a U.S. presidential inauguration speech.

18:20

Because the report of the State Council's Premier at the NPC

18:24

Lacks emotional color, just reading the content,

18:28

And there's no space for emotional expression.

18:31

But at the press conference, it's different,

18:35

The press conference allows for personal expression.

18:38

But the press conference is different.

18:40

During the press conference, he displays a lot of personal flair.

18:44

So, Premier Zhu Rongji's statements during the press conference

18:48

Felt very impactful to people.

18:52

This tradition continued with Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang as well.

18:58

According to early recollections from the State Council's spokesperson,

19:01

The most important purpose of holding these press conferences was to allow questions from foreign media,

19:07

Because there was a press bureau for the NPC,

19:09

Which hoped to use the Premier's press conferences

19:14

To allow questions from foreign media, enabling them to understand the direction of China's government policies.

19:19

So, when distributing press credentials,

19:21

Foreign media journalists often outnumbered domestic media journalists.

19:25

But there was a trick here,

19:27

Domestic journalists were basically arranged in advance,

19:30

Such as Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, CCTV,

19:33

Usually get the opportunity to ask questions each year.

19:36

CCTV reporters would have their questions written in advance before going up to ask,

19:38

Then ask the Premier to answer.

19:41

But early on, foreign media journalists did not have pre-submitted questions.

19:44

So, when Li Peng answered questions in 1988,

19:48

The questions from foreign media journalists were very sharp,

19:52

Asking about Ding Guangen's resignation,

19:56

Then later about Tibet, human rights issues,

19:57

And about some dissidents detained in China.

20:01

Questions from foreign media journalists were very intense.

20:04

Questions from foreign media journalists were very intense.

20:07

I would like to ask, with the establishment of China's cross-century leadership,

20:12

Do you think the June Fourth Incident from that year has any historical lessons for your new government

20:18

to avoid similar situations from happening again

20:23

or will it become a historical burden for you

20:26

Also, you once said back then

20:28

no matter what kind of base Hong Kong is, you would go

20:31

So, if you go to Hong Kong again in the future

20:34

and someone petitions you for the vindication of June Fourth, how would you view it

20:37

Also, the Hong Kong Alliance and some citizens

20:40

hold activities to commemorate June Fourth every year

20:43

What are your thoughts on this, thank you

20:46

But at that time, the responses from these Prime Ministers of the State Council

20:48

to these questions were quite good, overall

20:52

So, the main purpose of the press conferences at that time was as such

20:57

But later, the press conference gradually changed

21:01

It slowly shifted from focusing on foreign to focusing on domestic announcements

21:06

This is a very important change

21:08

As I said earlier

21:10

it went from demonstrating the Chinese government's attitude to foreign journalists

21:13

to mainly focusing on domestic

21:15

For example, during Wen Jiabao's era

21:18

What stands out the most from Wen Jiabao's press conferences

21:22

But now, the current Chongqing Municipal Committee and government must reflect

21:37

and seriously learn from the Wang Lijun incident

21:44

Without the success of political system reform, economic system reform cannot be carried through to the end

21:59

The achievements already made could also be lost again

22:08

New problems arising in society cannot be fundamentally resolved

22:21

A historical tragedy like the Cultural Revolution could happen again

22:37

You can see that these contents are actually talking about domestic affairs

22:41

They are about internal announcements, not foreign

22:46

Including like Li Keqiang, his press conferences were the same

22:50

So, over the past 30 years, you can see such a change in the press conferences of Chinese Premiers

22:55

This is the first characteristic

22:57

This is the first feature

22:58

The second feature

23:00

is such a question from these foreign media journalists

23:05

At first, as I just mentioned, there was no so-called selection

23:08

They could ask whatever questions they wanted

23:10

It's just that there was some tacit understanding between the two sides

23:13

But during the Hu-Wen era, some restrictions began to emerge gradually

23:18

There had to be communication in advance about what questions these foreign media journalists could ask

23:22

Later, this task was simply handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

23:25

So, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would communicate in advance with some foreign media journalists a few months before the Premier's press conference

23:30

to pre-discuss the questions to be asked

23:33

Because you can see, at the Premier's press conference

23:36

American journalists generally have the opportunity to ask questions

23:39

Japanese journalists have the opportunity to ask questions

23:40

Including European journalists also have the opportunity to ask questions

23:43

So, they would communicate these questions in advance with these foreign media journalists

23:47

So, you've seen, starting from 2004 onwards

23:50

The questions asked by these foreign journalists

23:53

were all pre-approved by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National People's Congress

23:58

They couldn't just ask anything they wanted

23:59

Including CNN and Japan's NHK

24:02

If they had the opportunity to ask questions

24:04

These questions were pre-reviewed by the CCP