Photo: Feng Li/Getty Images
China is all set to begin its leadership handover at the the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party on November 8. But Beijing has been deliberately coy about just what to expect. Hannah Beech of Time writes that journalists looking for news are instead being corralled about and given memorabilia instead.
Foreign journalists have been given beige baseball caps that say “press centre of 18th National Congress of CPC”.
They have also been told they will receive Western style snacks and given backpacks with stickers that suggest they cost 395 yuan (about $60). Beech also points out the bizarre instructions that come with bags:
“The straps of both sides top and bottom are used for bring map, umbrella and mats, water bottle, keys, ice ax.”
We already know that Beijing has begun its eccentric security measures that include a ban on balloons, model aircrafts, and even trained pigeons. Taxi drivers have also been instructed to remove handles of cab windows and report people carrying large soda containers.
Meanwhile the agenda for journalists includes carefully selected tours and activities. On offer so far:
- A tour of the Beiqi New Energy Automobile Company where journalists will be able to “test ride new energy vehicles”.
- A tour of the site of an old plant of the Shougang Group – one of China’s largest steel companies.
- A tour of China cartoon and animation game city.
The People’s Daily – a state-owned publication – however has published a piece about how foreign journalists will be granted more interviews on a range of subjects including food safety issues, developmental issues the country faces etc. “Compared with the previous congress, the scope of coverage will be expanded and more interviews will be arranged in the media centre, Zhu Shouchen, the centre’s deputy director, said.”
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