Last-minute change lets more journalists attend Xi Jinping’s rare press conference at G20 summit
Chinese head of state to speak to reporters on Monday evening
A last-minute notice has been issued at the G20 summit allowing more reporters to cover a press conference given by President Xi Jinping on Monday evening, but the chance of media being allowed to ask questions look slim.
The media centre at the summit has invited journalists to send applications to cover the press conference.
The event was announced weeks earlier as a highlight of the G20 agenda, but there was no public channel for journalists to register for the rare press conference.
Journalists need additional passes, on top of general media accreditation, to cover Xi’s activities at the G20.
US President Barack Obama is also due to hold a press conference at the G20 on Monday night.
A notice published at 9.45 am on the official website of the G20 said: “A limited number of opportunities remain available” to cover the press conference by Xi this afternoon and journalists who wish to attend should fill an application form and email it before noon.
A source said the press conference by Xi would be brief.
— SCMP News (@SCMP_News) September 4, 2016
The president has been under the global media spotlight over the past two days as G20 host.
He made a speech about China’s reform and global economy a day before the summit formally opened.
He has also held dozens of meetings with other nations leaders and ministers and attended a concert on Sunday night.
Chinese state leaders rarely host press conferences except one held by China’s premier after the National People’s Congress in Beijing each year.
Chinese presidents only attend press conferences when they make state visits to other countries or when China is host to an important international event.
At a joint press briefing by Xi and US President Barack Obama in Beijing in November 2014, Xi took a question from The New York Times about China’s visa restrictions on foreign journalists.
Xi replied by saying that media organisations must obey Chinese laws.
“If a car breaks down in the drive, we need to get out the car and check what is wrong,” Xi said. “It is up to the doer to undo the knot”.
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