by Xinhua writers Liu Xin and Li Na
BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Lu Yu of the Sino-U.S. Times newspaper is covering China's annual national legislative and political consultative sessions. He tries to actively participate in every press conference and open panel discussion.
Lu has asked questions to the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development director Liu Yongfu, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Zhang Mao, head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Lu is not alone. Beijing is swarming with journalists reporting on the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). According to the press center, this year's sessions have received more than 3,000 journalist applications, including those from an increased number of foreign reporters.
"Because China now is such an influential country, no journalist wants to miss out on an event so abundant with news," Lu said.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
It's the first time Ronald Kato, journalist with Vision Group in Uganda, has been to China. "It's hard to understand what goes on here, until you see Chinese democracy in action," he said.
While Kato knows already how democracy in China differs from that in the West, he now sees that it works and puts people at the center of their own government.
He told Xinhua that Ugandans are currently fascinated by China -- the people, the culture, political system, socialism with Chinese characteristics -- and mostly how a country which was among the poorest in the world 40 years ago has grown to such a paradigm of inclusive development.
OLD CHINA HAND
Russian reporter Andrey Kirillov of ITAR-TASS Russian news agency has been reporting on the two sessions for 20 years. He is interested in economic development in general, and this year, in China's 13th Five-Year Plan in particular.
China can be seen as a growth engine in the world, Kirillov said. China has set its GDP growth target of around 6.5 percent in 2017, and Kirillov wants to see how China's growth contributes to world growth, especially in countries along the Belt and Road, a bold initiative to expand trade and development in countries along the ancient trade routes and beyond.
Kirillov also wonders about the role of his home country in the initiative and has closely followed tripartite relations between China, the United States and Russia since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on his March 8 press conference that China, the United States and Russia should come together in pursuit of win-win outcomes. Relations should not be a "seesaw". The three should work with, rather than against, one another.
Rafael Canas, correspondent for Spain's Efe Beijing bureau, paid attention to China's foreign policy in this year's government work report to the NPC.
Delivering the report on March 5, Premier Li Keqiang detailed the latest opening-up measures. China's door will keep on opening wider, and the country will keep working to be the most attractive destination for foreign investment, Li said.
Canas acknowledges that China's opening up, support for globalization and a strong stance against trade protectionism are the issues watched closely by the international community.
PROGRESS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Johnny Erling, a correspondent with German daily Die Welt, has been working in China since 1998. He came to the press center to report on "Made in China 2025" and the press conference by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Chinese enterprises have invested a lot in Germany, Erling said.
On March 11, China's regulator offered clarification of "Made in China 2025," stressing equal treatment for domestic and foreign companies.
The blueprint applies to all businesses in China, be they domestic or foreign, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei told the press.
China's investment goes everywhere and means a lot to African people, Kato said. The Chinese government has helped finance huge infrastructure projects there such as roads, railways, and power dams.
"With China's help, we are building infrastructure which is good for connectivity and trade," Kato said. "It's already happening."
He said the cooperation between China and Africa must move to the next level, to help Africa industrialize and export value-added minerals and finished products to China.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME
In addition to social issues covered by foreign media, questions also touched on the prospects for relatively poor zones surrounding Beijing, rural land transfer and artificial intelligence were all raised at press conferences.
Veteran journalist Kirillov has felt more openness at the two sessions, year after year. "As foreign media, we are now welcome to attend and report on discussions by delegations from local regions."
"The deputies come to Beijing from all over the country," Kirillov said, adding the media have a convenient opportunity to interview them, especially those from remote areas.
The two sessions also allow high-level officials, such as ministers and the central bank governor, to meet the press.
Canas had the chance to ask Foreign Minister Wang Yi about China-Europe relations after Brexit, but he would like to see more interviews, all year round.
(Zhang Yuanpei and Liu Kai contributed to the story.)