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Premier Li proves he's a good listener

Updated: 2016-03-17 08:10
By Zhang Yue (China Daily)

I was taken aback when I saw the long queue of hundreds of reporters in front of the Great Hall of the People at 7 am on a smoggy Wednesday morning - three hours before a news conference where Premier Li Keqiang would meet journalists and answer their questions.

I later learned that some had waited since 4 am in the hope of getting a good seat.

Getting as close as possible to the premier's seat is probably what every reporter wants because it gives them a better chance to ask questions of the premier and a better opportunity to observe his reactions.

After five years working as a reporter, this was my first opportunity to attend the annual news conference by the Chinese premier, or more precisely, my first time covering the two sessions.

I was lucky enough to grab a seat in the front row.

Premier Li proves he's a good listener

Li seemed to be a very good listener. As he listened to the reporter, he tended to nod to show that he understands the point of the question. Even when reporters from foreign press organizations raised questions, Li nodded and took notes, often before the interpreter started interpreting.

I did not get the chance to ask a question, but my colleague in the middle row did. She asked about the timeline of China's medical care reform, a question that has proved to be the most cared about, according to netizens responding to a recent online survey.

To me, the premier looked calm and confident in responding to every question during the two-hour news conference. And having covered many events from China's State Council for several months, I now better understand the premier's confidence and patience. Most of the questions - be they about medical insurance, urbanization policy, encouraging an innovation driven economy - have been repeatedly studied and reviewed based on the premier's field work.

We walked out of the gold hall slowly. Along the way, I talked to Jiang Na, a reporter from Farmer's Daily who grabbed the premier's attention by holding up the word "Farmer" throughout the two-hour conference and who grabbed the last question on the government's efforts on grain prices.

"I was so so nervous when I realized that he noticed me," Jiang said. "I was scared that I might be too exaggerated in front of the premier. I was so surprised and felt relaxed as he gave a very patient and detailed answer to the question."

Contact the writer at zhangyue@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 03/17/2016 page4)

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