Premier Wen Jiabao takes his final bow
Updated: 2012-03-15 08:05
By Cui Jia (China Daily)
For both domestic and foreign reporters, there is no doubt that the premier's news conference after the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National People's Congress is one of the most significant events of the annual sessions. Some say that it's the Oscars of China's news conferences, but I disagree. The Oscars has many stars, while the premier's news conference has only one.
For the past nine years, Premier Wen Jiabao has been that star. On Wednesday, the 70-year-old came to the "golden hall" of the Great Hall of the People and met the global press for the final time after the NPC, as he is expected to retire next year.
The conference was scheduled to begin at 10:50 am but to get a good spot to catch the historic moments of Wen's news conference some reporters even came to the Great Hall of the People before 7 am.
As soon as Wen stepped into the hall, hundreds of photographers began to hit their shutter release buttons almost simultaneously and, of course, everyone's eyes were on him.
When he said he "feels sorry" and he should assume responsibility for the problems that had occurred in China's economy and society during his term of office, I felt deeply for the man in front of me who has obviously given his best to serve the country and feels frustrated.
Outside, people were watching him live on TV across China, so Wen wasn't just talking to the reporters. He was talking to the people.
Wen answered questions ranging from political reforms to promoting social equity and justice. He talked slowly and firmly in his usual manner but with a bit more sincerity. The conference lasted three hours. Maybe he wanted to take this final opportunity to say something he wanted to say to the people.
Wednesday's conference was obviously a feast for the press.
"I've been attending the premier's news conference since 2006, and I think today's conference is wonderful, no matter from the quality of questions or from the answers," said Masood Sattar Khan, special correspondent from Associated Press of Pakistan.
Khan said that during Wen's term of office, China became the second-biggest economy in the world and people's living standards have improved a lot.
"Wen has put many unsolved problems onto the table during the news conference," said Xu Jingbo, president of Japan's Asia News Agency, who has been attending the premier's news conference for the past 10 years.
In the end, Wen waved goodbye to reporters and Xu said it's his way of saying farewell to all Chinese.
Wen said he will work as a burdened old horse during his last year in office to make up for his regrets with new achievements, seeking understanding and forgiveness from the Chinese people.
Well, take care Premier Wen Jiabao, we know you are doing your best.
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(China Daily 03/15/2012 page6)