A shared honor to witness history in the making
Updated: 2012-11-13 08:08
By Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)
There are 2,309 delegates attending the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and 2,732 reporters covering this momentous event.
Theoretically, reporters should find the one-on-one strategy works well. But in actuality, it is still not easy to catch popular delegates, especially the low-profile top officials and regulators.
On Thursday afternoon, there was an open-discussion session of the financial group that included all the industry regulators and the most powerful financial tycoons.
Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of People's Bank of China, was definitely the center of attention. Others, such as Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, and Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, were also in the limelight.
I arrived at the meeting room 45 minutes ahead and found all the seats in the first few rows already occupied. Moreover, the delegates were roped off from reporters, which meant we would probably have no chance to speak with them on the sidelines before or after the discussion.
Though the chance was slim, reporters still approached the rope barriers when the discussion came to an end.
After a short discussion with my colleague, I decided to stay just outside the barriers to wait for any opportunities when they left the meeting room. My colleague went to the north gate of the Great Hall of the People, where high-level officials usually exit.
When Zhou stood up to leave, a crowd of reporters rushed to the rope barriers, but they were stopped by the staff.
"Just say something more, Governor Zhou, please!" pleaded a number of female reporters.
But Zhou, giving us a big smile, said nothing and signaled goodbye with a wave of the hand.
At that moment, a line by a famous Chinese poet came to my mind: "Gently I flick my sleeves; not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away."
A few minutes later, my colleague came back, dispirited: "The way to the northern exit has been blocked!"
Though it has become harder to sniff out a scoop at the congress, some tricks to get hold of top officials for a short talk still work. Some reporters have followed delegates to the toilet and waited outside for a chance to talk with them when they came out.
During the open-discussion session of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, when Party Secretary Hu Chunhua left for the restroom during the break, more than half of the reporters left the meeting room and rushed to the door of the toilet.
Hu is widely pursued by journalists because he is regarded as one of the strong candidates for the top leadership in five to 10 years.
"Long hours, little pay and less appreciation," this is one of our foreign copy editor's tongue-in-cheek remarks about being a reporter these days.
It is partially true, I think. But there is the other side of the story, otherwise I would not have stayed in journalism for eight years.
One of the most fascinating things about being a reporter, I believe, is to witness these historical events and see how they make history.
For me, reporting at this Party congress has special significance because I found I was pregnant shortly after I was picked to cover the event.
Two months into my pregnancy, I guess my baby may be the youngest participant in this important event that will exert influence over the country in the coming decade.
And the attendance of the Party congress can be the most special gift I give to my little baby.
"Think of the Party congress when you name your baby," my boss said when he heard the news.
"Well, that is a good idea," I responded.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
(China Daily 11/13/2012 page8)