Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu on Tuesday
What is it like to sit through roughly an hour and a half of Chinese Foreign Ministry press conference? Your answer is here: Part One and Part Two (these are recordings of the ministry's simultaneous English translation during remarks by spokeswoman Jiang Yu).
After the first 45 minutes or so of relatively testy exchanges passed I began to wonder why Jiang didn't cut things short with "we have time for just one more question."
A quick backgrounder:
On Friday and Saturday, foreign journalists across Beijing got calls from Chinese security officers reminding them to follow all relevant rules and regulations concerning reporting in China.
Everyone knew the context -- a call for public protests in cities across China on Sunday, posted on U.S.-based website boxun.com. But no one knew what, exactly, the calls meant. Had the rules changed?
There'd been a small item in Chinese media* suggesting we might now need prior approval to report in the city -- an apparent adjustment to national regulations.
Some of those who went to the site of the announced gathering, the Wangfujing Street shopping area, were pushed around or detained by police and men in plain clothes who were obviously coordinating with the police. There was no actual protest held, but the security presence was intense (a picture I took that afternoon is below).
* China Daily
Updated: 2011-02-25 07:54
Regulation on reporting
Journalists must apply for approval, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, before they conduct interviews in Beijing, according to the information office of the Beijing municipal government.
They must also obtain permission from potential interviewees (work units or individuals) and carry a valid press card, according to a notice issued on Thursday.
Journalists are also required to abide by relevant regulations, it added.