By IKENNA EMEWU
The Chinese Deputy Director General of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office, Ms. Xi Yanchun has praised the Chinese leadership system for taking information openness along with economic reforms.
She made the disclosure last this week in her office in Beijing when she received a delegation of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) that took a tour of China.
During a warm interactive in her office, Xi whose office is located in the precinct of the power of Beijing, just across the street to the president’s office, mentioned that the location of the information office that handles publicity for the state is a sign of its importance to the affairs of leadership.
Members of the NGE led by the president Mrs. Funke Egbemode had paid her a visit to exchange ideas on the function and roles of the media in today’s world governance.
Ms. Xi noted that indisputably, today’s swift worldwide information age puts every office that handles government image making under pressure to catch up with the pace of response and dissemination of information.
Comparatively, Xi said that judging from where China is coming from, possibly in past 20 years, the nation has done great in throwing her activities open to the entire world.
“A good instance is the fact that while the office handled about 55 news briefings where it addresses the entire Beijing media community comprising local and foreign media representatives of government activities in 2016, last year it did over 173 briefings. That is a sign of how we are fastly adjusting to the trend of the time when informing the public about government and leadership is getting more compelling.
“We have also increased the volume of bulletins and other public information publications from our office. We act more proactively now, more responsive and always at alert to the challenges of tougher information management. We know every office like ours all over the world faces the same tasks and we have no reason to lag behind especially when we know that with China’s global rating as the second largest economy, with wider friendship with the world, more countries of the world and people are keener to know what happens in China everyday and we have a duty to let them know what happens and how it happens.”
She admonished that the world should not make the mistake of comparing China with any other country in the world as the country has her peculiarities and works according to her policy and philosophy of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Xi also advised that countries should not content themselves with copying, but find out what works for them in line with their peculiarities and grow through that.
Regarding China and press freedom, the chief image maker said China operates a free media and has also created a peculiar media sector that understands and works at the objective of growing the nation to its giant stature today. She insisted that the media played a great role in educating the people in the 40 past years of her reforms and opening up, an agenda and movement she said none envisaged how far it would come at the start.
“I have answered this question of media freedom in China as many times as I have interacted with foreign media colleagues and I still have one answer – that the media is really free in China. I am sure there is no nation that boasts of absolute media freedom because every of such freedom is guided by the limits of laws.”
“China knows and values the role of the media in governance and leadership and boasts of a large and diverse media sector in the traditional and new media arms, and all of them have played and still play great roles in advancing good governance and leadership that serves the people and only the good of the people. Our media is good in agenda setting and pointing out ways things are not done right and how to improve on them. And I say again that every country knows what it wants just like China, and so we have adopted the best and most efficient media we need for our progress.”
Regarding the pace of response by government to issues, she assured that her office is aware there is some challenge that needs to be adequately handled, reason it increased her pace and rate of response like in more media briefings and publications and even longer work hours.
“The need to respond better and faster is a task every government image making agency faces all over the world. We target this at all times and not just to response, but to do so frankly, factually and professionally. We have not arrived at a perfect format or model, but we keep working on improvement.”
On cooperation with the Nigeria media, she said such cooperation is envisaged in the objectives of the Forum of China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which President Xi Jinping pursues vigorously and would welcome more exchanges between Nigeria and China as the media sectors and at the individual levels for ideas exchange and enhancement.
In the team of editors were the Vice president of NGE, Suleiman Uba Gaya, Mr. Ray Echebiri, Mr. Steve Osuji, all NGE executive members, Mrs, Boma Nwuke, a broadcaster and Ikenna Emewu, Executive Director of the Afri-China Media Centre, an agency devoted to furthering Africa China cooperation using the media.
Emewu himself is a Fellow of the China Public Diplomacy media exchange fellowship for African journalists.
File photo of Xi Yanchun at a press event from yahoo.com