China in a surprise announcement says it is eliminating annual news conference by premier

BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese government said Monday it is eliminating an annual news conference by the premier that was one of the only times a top Chinese leader took questions from the news media.

Lou Qinjian, the spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, said on the eve of the opening of the annual session of the legislature that Premier Li Qiang would not hold a news conference at the conclusion of the meeting, as has been customary.

Lou said that the congress would increase opportunities for journalists to ask questions of government ministers and other officials, as well as with the nearly 3,000 delegates to the congress.

“If there are no special circumstances, the premier’s press conference will not be held in the next few years,” he said, without further explanation.

The weeklong meeting of the largely ceremonial congress, which opens Tuesday, is being closely watched for any indications of what steps the government will take to boost the struggling economy. Li, the premier, will present an annual report at the opening that is expected to include the government’s economic growth target for 2024.


This first name of the congress spokesperson has been corrected to Qinjian.

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