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China: Provincial governor threatens questioning reporter

Lianghui is in full swing, and media continue to find creative ways to report on the latest developments.

Journalists present at the meetings don't get many opportunities to interview higher-up representatives or committee members. A chance yesterday to put questions to governor of Hubei province Li Hongzhong ended for one reporter when he responded to hers by threatening to complain to her boss; below is constitutional lawyer and blogger Liu Xiaoyuan's post on what took place, borrowing heavily from blogger and Southern Media Group journalist Shi Feike:

据新浪微博披露,3月7日,湖北代表团开放团组。大批记者涌入。开放会议结束后,湖北省长李鸿忠步进贵宾厅接受央视“小撒探会”专访。节目录制中,各路记者围团等候。毕。马上采访。第一财经的问题回答完毕、新华社的回答完毕。省长洋洋洒洒,大谈湖北各种优势,发展势头良好。

According to word on the Sina microblogs, on March 7 the delegation of Hubei representatives held an open group meeting. A pack of reporters flooded in. After the meeting wrapped up, Hubei governor Li Hongzhong stepped into the VIP hall to be interviewed for a CCTV feature. While the program was being filmed, reporters from different media waited on the sidelines. When that wrapped up, their interviews immediately began. When the question from China Business News was answered, and the question from Xinhua News Agency was answered, the governor waxed eloquent on the many attractive features of Hubei province, its stellar economic growth.

工作人员正欲开道护送省长离开。一京华时报女记者急切的问:省长,您怎么看待邓玉娇?李鸿忠大怒,脸色在0。1秒内阴沉下来,怒视着该记者。更是在大把握着录音笔的手中准确找到该记者的录音笔,动作隐蔽但坚定的将其夺下。随后愤愤步向走廊。在大门处,李又停下来,怒视该记者“你是哪个媒体的?”“我是人民日报的”(注:京华时报乃人民日报下属市场报)。“你还是党报的!党报怎么舆论导向的?我找你社长去!!”然后李鸿忠头也不回走向电梯回房。一众记者傻眼。据说,此时,这位女记者眼圈当场就红了,很委屈。

Then the workers began trying to clear a path for the governor to leave. One reporter from Beijing Times hurriedly asked: Governor, what are your thoughts on Deng Yujiao? Li Hongzhong became enraged, and his face went cloudy in 0.1 seconds flat as he scowled at this reporter. He looked at the pen recorder and the hands holding it and, moving subtly but firmly, grabbed hold of them. He then stormed out into the hall. At the main door, Li stopped and asked furiously of this reporter, “which media are you from?” “I'm from People's Daily” (note: Beijing Times is a commercial paper affiliate of People's Daily). “And you're a Party paper! This isn't how a Party paper handles opinion guidance! I'm going to your publisher!!” And then without looking back, Li Hongzhong went to the elevator and back to his room. The reporters standing around looked on, dumbfounded. Reportedly, at this time, this female reporter began to tear up, feeling hurt.

而现场记者还透露,湖北省政府的工作人员也许是担心李鸿忠省长的失态之语被发布,还抢走了这位女记者的录音笔,是否归还不知道。(出处http://shifeike.blog125.fc2.com/blog-entry-84.html)

Reporters at the scene have gone on to reveal that, perhaps out of worry that recording of Governor Li Hongzhong's lapse would leak out, workers from the Hubei provincial government office grabbed this reporter's pen recorder, and whether or not it has been returned is unknown. (via Shi Feike's blog)

Toward the end of the post, Liu himself writes:

一个省长如此失态对待记者,责疑记者“怎么引导舆论导向”,李鸿忠的行为,与去年逯军责疑记者为谁说话,其实是如出一辙。省长也蛮横对待记者,失去的不只是官员风度还有民心。

For a governor to lose composure and treat a reporter like this, accosting a reporter for their ‘handling of opinion guidance'; Li Hongzhong's behavior as such is similar to last year's incident in which Lu Jun questioned a reporter, ‘who do you speak for?’. For a provincial governor to treat a reporter just as outrageously, what's lost is not just official composure, but public morality as well.

In the Shi Feike post linked to by Liu, there's this audio recording of the altercation between Li and the reporter. Regarding the incident, Phoenix Television news editor and reporter Rose Luqiu Luwei wrote today on Twitter:

和被李鸿忠责骂的记者聊过,还好,她的上司不觉得她有错,大家都觉得奇怪,邓玉娇又不是敏感问题,爲何对方如此大动肝火?至于说记者“欺骗”,京华时报确实是人民日报的子报,这些记者外出采访,通常会戴上人民日报集团这样的大帽子,方便采访,不然那些封疆大吏不会理睬这些地方报纸。

I just spoke with the journalist who got chewed out by Li Hongzhong. She's okay, her superior doesn't feel she did anything wrong. People find it strange that someone would get so worked up, because Deng Yujiao isn't a sensitive issue. As for those saying she “deceived”, Beijing Times is in fact a child paper of People's Daily; when these reporters head out for interviews, they'll often identify themselves as from the People's Daily newspaper group, it helps secure interviews. Otherwise, provincial magnates would just ignore a local newspaper like this.

6 comments

  • […] do not have to look back too far. Last Sunday, during the same Lianghui, a provincial governor threatened to complain against a journalist who asked a question on an apparently ‘sensitive’ topic; On the same day, the Deputy Minister […]

  • dkj

    It’s okay, I mean during Cultural Revolution, this reporter will be struggled against, spat at, and tortured to death. Even if the governor had his cronies demolish this reporter’s home and or send her to life imprisonment or labor camp, China has moved forward. I mean, look, today we got Internet, bridges, LV bags, porcelain toilets, fridge and everything. This is a sign of progress! All we need to do these days is kneel down to the governor and the officials and do whatever they say … otherwise you’ll be dealt with in accordance to Chinese laws! You know, we have laws in this country … which of course is a lot more flexible, cheaper and faster than the kind of bullshit stuff in the West where they take things so seriously.

  • I´ve heard about this topic before, but nobody explained it so well. Thanks a lot for the translation.

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