More top officials will appear on the ministers’ “pathway” to respond to social concerns during the two sessions of China’s top legislature and political advisory body this year, the meetings’ media center said in a statement released on March 2.
When the fifth plenary session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference opened on March 3, six ministerial-level officials answered questions covering various topics, including education and civil aviation, on the pathway from the Great Hall of the People’s north gate to the meeting hall.
The news conference lasted almost an hour and was broadcast live on China Central Television for the first time.
“The pathway has got a warmer response from all departments of the State Council this year, and the number of ministers who are ready to come and answer questions is expected to increase,” the statement said.
Though only 100 meters long, the red-carpeted pathway is “the important channel for releasing news and analyzing bills, work reports and policies,” the statement said.
In addition to awaiting the arrival of ministers, as in past years, journalists can now also submit questions to the pathway’s WeChat account after scanning a quick response code, it said, and added that text messages are also allowed.
The pathway has thus been made more open to the media in an effort to ensure every question can be answered, it said.
Li Tiezhu, a Beijing Youth Daily reporter who took part in the news conference on March 3 on the pathway, said: “I connected with the WeChat account and prepared to send some questions to give it a try in the next few days.”
Li said he was impressed on Friday by the answers of Feng Zhenglin, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, “because he gave direct responses to hot issues such as flight delays and construction of a new airport.”
But he said that the opportunity to raise questions is still limited, and a line drawn on the floor keeps reporters from approaching ministers.
The line was added in 2008 to keep the pathway from becoming too crowded, the media center said, but microphones and loudspeakers have since been installed.
The pathway was used nine times during the two sessions of 2016, the center said, and ministers stepped to the microphones 38 times and responded to journalists more than 70 times.
What they say
Zhong Shan, minister of commerce
In his first meeting with journalists since taking office on Feb 24, Zhong said China will adjust the growth pattern in foreign trade from simply expanding in volume to improving its structural quality. The Ministry of Commerce will make further efforts to strengthen China’s role as a big trading nation and push for its increasing prowess in the sector.
Liu Yuzhu, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage
China will provide the public greater access to the country’s cultural relics. About 770,000 immovable and 6 million movable cultural relics will gradually be opened to the public. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has made great progress in bringing more relics to the public in recent years. The cultural relics currently accessible to the public will be made full use of and improved. There are now 4,692 museums in China. We still need to make great efforts in diversifying the items on display in these museums.
Chen Baosheng, minister of education
The TV show Chinese Poetry Competition has shown a new way to promote traditional Chinese culture. The education in traditional Chinese culture should be covered at every stage of education. It should be well integrated into the educational system and materials. Traditional Chinese opera, painting, calligraphy, medicine and sports should be represented as facets of traditional Chinese culture, which needs to be protected and passed down.
Qiu Yuanping, director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council
More than 40 million overseas Chinese live along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Many of them have economic power and understand foreign business environments. They also have wide connections with the local people. They can be important bridges to connect the Belt and Road. We will encourage them to set up cooperation and e-business networks this year and will let those who are bilingual contribute more to the Belt and Road Initiative.