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Going in search of the big answers

By Li Xiang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-09 07:23

Oftentimes, reporting on financial news seems far removed from the excitement of covering wars, politics or the drama and celebrity of the entertainment world.

A big part of what I do as a financial journalist is dealing with numbers and terms, explaining difficult financial concepts clearly and decoding the jargon-filled language of officials and bankers.

It may not sound all that interesting, but when it comes to reporting on the two sessions, one of the biggest political events in China, it can be exhilarating.

Going in search of the big answersIt first hit me when I was with a group of reporters waiting for Premier Li Keqiang, who was scheduled to join a discussion with the country's top political advisers and hear their advice on economic policy. The meeting was only accessible to a limited number of reporters, so the only chance for the rest of us to ask the premier questions was to wait behind the security line, hoping he would stop for a minute before entering the meeting room.

When he showed up, amid a barrage of camera flashes and shutter clicks, one eager reporter shouted out: "Premier, what measures will you take to stabilize house prices?" Another loud voice followed: "What do you think of the economy?" Then came another: "Are you confident about the stock market?"

I was struck by the intensity of the moment and the eagerness of my colleagues. We had waited there for hours in the hope of grabbing any chance we could get to ask the premier questions that matter to everyone.

On another occasion, we chased central bank officials to ask them about the inflation target and money-supply growth - not because we care about abstract numbers, but because we know they have an impact on people's wealth and purchasing power.

When we ran after the finance minister with questions about tax cuts and pension management, we knew the answers would affect people's incomes and retirements. And when we asked a business leader about his company's investment plans, we knew it would influence jobs.

Similarly, when we asked economists about their projections for property prices and the potential consequences of government policies, we knew the story might have a certain impact on people's ability to afford a house.

In this sense, covering financial news has all the excitement one could want. The two sessions provide my colleagues and I the opportunity to step out of the newsroom, set aside the financial reports and research notes and seek answers to questions that are truly relevant to people's lives.

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