At a time when China ’s regional and global intentions have been called into question, keeping the media at arm’s length will do little in addressing growing concerns and in getting Beijing’s message across to the international community. Ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s press conference in the Solomon Islands on Thursday, the country’s media association said it would boycott the visit. They say this is due to restrictions on coverage where Wang will only take a question from state-run CCTV and not from the local press. Georgina Kekea, president of the Media Association of Solomon Islands wrote on Twitter saying that it is “a tough call to make” adding that “our protest is for our government to see our disappointment”. The China-Solomon Islands security pact and why it has raised alarm Wang will also visit Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Fiji during his two-week trip, where China will sign key agreements with the Solomon Islands, including a security pact criticised by the United States , Australia and Japan . Understandably, the local media would like to ask questions relating to these agreements and should be given the opportunity, even if boilerplate replies are given. But to be denied the opportunity suggests that Beijing is either uncomfortable about the prospect of addressing these issues or wishes to maintain its ongoing secrecy. Despite ongoing calls, the text of the security deal signed by Beijing and Honiara has still not been made public, or shared with members of parliament. China’s foreign ministry also refused to answer questions about Wang’s visit until Tuesday night, the day before the trip. Why the China-Solomon Islands pact is making waves in the Pacific This lack of transparency will do little in assuaging concerns about China’s intentions in the region which has come under intense scrutiny in recent months. The same situation of giving the media a wide berth applies to the ongoing visit in Xinjiang this week by Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The first such visit since 2005, the six-day trip which began on Monday was met with criticism that Bachelet is unlikely to be allowed unfettered access in Xinjiang. Rights groups have claimed the visit will be choreographed while politicians from 18 countries warned that Bachelet risked causing lasting damage to the credibility of her office if she went ahead with the visit. Yet, for an event so closely watched, no international journalists will be allowed to travel with Bachelet, but she will hold a press conference on Saturday, her office has said. Granted that China’s relations with the foreign media has always been skittish, efforts to stop engaging or even allowing their presence will only mean that an additional channel for understanding Beijing’s policies and approaches would have been lost. The lack of transparency and access would feed into ongoing anxieties that China’s ascendancy will involve second-guessing or worse, an inaccurate portrayal of Beijing’s true intentions.