China scraps premier’s annual press conference for first time since 1993

4/4 Military band members rehearse on the day of the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 4, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo 2/4

By Liz Lee and Albee Zhang

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Premier Li Qiang will not hold a press conference after the close of this year’s annual parliamentary meeting, an official said on Monday, ending a tradition maintained for three decades.

Since 1993, China’s premiers have met the media after the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress (NPC), offering journalists, including the foreign press, a rare chance to ask questions in a typically wide-ranging news conference.

The decision was made because there would be more briefings by government ministers during the annual parliament meeting where senior cabinet officials will talk about issues on diplomacy, economy and people’s livelihood, NPC spokesman Lou Qinjian told reporters on Monday.

The premier would not give media briefing at the conclusion of future NPCs, Lou added.

At the close of the annual parliament last year, Li sought to reassure the country’s private sector in his first media conference as premier.


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