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Getting close to subject is the best path to heart of the story

By CUI JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-02 09:08
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CUI JIA, China Daily reporter

Since becoming a China Daily reporter in 2009, I've seen many events that most people may never witness in their lifetimes.

I was at the scene of terrorist attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2013 and felt the pain they brought to people from all ethnic groups.

I wept with a mother from Wenchuan county, Sichuan province, searching for her missing son after a deadly magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit the area more than 10 years ago.

Last year, my colleagues and I interviewed Zhang Dingyu, head of the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province. Zhang was among the first group of medics who tried to save people infected with the novel coronavirus. I still vividly remember how Zhang, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, walked with a pronounced limp in the hallways of the hospital.

By telling stories of China, reporters like me have become more experienced. What's more, China Daily has gradually become one of the strongest platforms for airing the voices of China.

In the new era, the country is approaching the center of the world stage and the eyes of the world are on it. As President Xi Jinping has said, we need to boost our confidence while telling stories of China to the world. Also, we need to let the voices of China be better heard so the world can better understand us.

It's understandable that people love to read China stories with exquisite details and rich emotions. That's why we, as reporters, always go out of our way to reach out to ordinary people no matter how far, how dangerous and how tough the journey may be.

When I was stationed at China Daily's Xinjiang bureau, the region was often hit by violent terrorist attacks. On April 23,2013, a terrorist strike took place in Selibuya county in southern Xinjiang's Kashgar prefecture, killing 15 community workers and police officers. A police officer who was injured by one of the attackers told me from his hospital bed that he and the attacker recognized each other because they had grown up together. But the attacker didn't stop.

"He's like a monster. No, he is a monster," the police officer said. His words ended up in the lead of my story on how overseas terrorist, extremist and separatist forces lure locals into carrying out terrorist attacks.

The story won the China News Award. I would never have got a quote like that if I didn't get close enough to the scene. Also, I don't think I can tell a China story well without being touched by it myself.

Many people have asked me why I'm still passionate about being a reporter after so many years. The answer is quite simple. The fulfillment of being a reporter is irreplaceable. I have to say "thanks" to all the interviewees who have shared their life and feelings with me. Such experiences are very precious in my life.

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