Report Log

Fresh new voices at political sessions

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)
Updated: 2013-03-03 07:43

The press conference announcing the opening of the Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee is a prelude which always draws attention to the nation's biggest political event of the year. This year, it seems different.

The difference can be partly attributed to Lyu Xinhua, the new spokesman of the CPPCC National Committee, and also that the upcoming two sessions will see the debut of a new generation of Chinese leaders.

On Friday, the Chinese government announced Lyu's appointment. As an experienced diplomat who had been in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 40 years, Lyu has been to more than 140 countries and regions, and has worked in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Finland among others.

Many eyes were watching how the 62-year-old veteran diplomat would perform in front of the media. About 45 minutes before the press conference, reporters arriving at the press room of the Great Hall of the People were surprised to find it already crowded.

At 4:30 pm sharp, Lyu and his team entered the room amid applause and a crescendo of camera clicks.

He looked around and smiled as he stepped onto the platform. Our first impression was that the spokesman was friendly, but a bit shy.

But the tension and nerves evaporated as, with a slight Zhejiang accent, he fielded more questions and relaxed.

The one-and-a-half hour press conference covered a wide range of issues, from the nation's democratic consultation and supervision to the policies of the new Chinese leaders to public concerns about food safety and environmental pollution to China's stance on the Diaoyu Islands dispute.

When the questions and answers session was over, journalists swarmed the platform and Lyu, unexpectedly, agreed to answer a last question.

Throughout the lengthy press conference, he kept a smiling countenance but he could get tough. When China Daily asked if he thought China and Japan would go to war over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, he sternly said that Japan should be completely responsible for the current situation.

When it came to questions on the environment, he was passionate in his answers, saying the government itself must do more and move faster to improve the environment, and the air quality in Beijing.

From the first impression that Lyu gave at the press conference, we have an indication that the attitude is right, and sincere. That augurs well for what is to come in the next week.

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