By Victor Gotevbe
Beijing: The Spokeswoman and Vice Director-General of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office (SCIO) in China, Xi Yanchun, on Monday, said in order to achieve economic development, the Chinese government has chosen stability as its focus. Addressing a delegation of Nigerian journalists in Beijing area of China, on Monday, Yanchun noted that without stability, it is difficult to achieve economic development.
She noted that the media culture of China is quite different from other countries, saying the country would keep opening its doors wider and will become wider.
According to her, “The trend of China is to have more integration, mutual understanding, more experience sharing with the outside world. It is very good to have these exchanges in a very friendly and open way.”
The vice Director-General explained that the Western media may have its role as the watch dog; to dig out dirty or expose darkness of the society, but China decided to properly manage negative stories so it does not get its large population confused.
“The consumption of media in China is believed outrightly. Therefore, there are frantic efforts to have the Chinese media play a very objective and positive role in the country’s development without compromising transparency,” Yanchun stated.
Some of the issues discussed were of mutual interests, as topics bothered on the functions of SCIO, China’s conscientious and consistent efforts in alleviating poverty.
This year marks China’s 40th anniversary of Reform and Open Door policy, as other issues discussed included; China-Nigeria cooperation and role of media in the country.
SCIO- INFORMATION OFFICE OF CHINESE GOVERNMENT
SCIO is an administrative office under China’s State Council. It is the information office of the Chinese Government. The main function of the SCIO is to propel domestic media further along the path of introducing China, including the country’s domestic and foreign policies, development of the Chinese economy and society, as well as China’s history, technology, education and culture.
Yanchun said: “We hold press conferences from time to time and also invite Ministers and their wives to our briefing. And to brief journalists on all the topics concerning major policies issued by the State Council and all the events of Chinese political agenda. Beside this, we issue white paper for Chinese Government.”
“We do all kinds of exchange programmes in the circle of Media and also think tanks. And we issue books, videos and digital materials. Sometimes we organize cultural events abroad and also we invite journalists to come to china to do reports eventually.”
SPOKESPERSON SYSTEM OF CHINA
The Press Bureau is mainly about Press briefing. There have been efforts in the past and on going to establish spokesperson system of China which is in accordance with the process of reforming of China.
In the beginning of the 1980s, only very few departments had spokespersons. There is an existing three levels of spokesperson system in China. The Central Government which is the State Council for Information is one level. The second is the Ministerial level and the third is at the Provincial level.
Diplomatic Watch gathered that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce now have their own spokespersons and they hold press conferences from time to time. There are more than 200 spokespersons in the Chinese government.
The spokesperson system was borne out of the realization that face to face communication is very important and it can benefit the country’s image and also the Government and party’s image.
After regular training programmes, the Bureau would issue documents that will advance the spokespersons work.
Spokesperson of SCIO stressed the need to visit the Western part of China, which has the highest number of people still living in poverty. Adding that: “It is the desire of China to have a more balanced development and there is still a lot to do. Hence, it is not out of place to call China a developing State.”
ROLE OF THE MEDIA
Spokesperson of SCIO expressed that the Press was not of immense importance and the Chinese people would rather focus on their real work. She pointed out that the Environmental Protection put in place by the Chinese government has raised the media very high in its Ministry of Environment.
“Further still, beyond the understanding of the local people and the understanding of the scholars, there is must for more reporters to report issues objectively.
“The thinking that transparency or open dialogue between the Chinese government and media is very much appreciated because it allows the general public to know about what the government has done or what it intends to do. At the beginning of the reform nobody wants to talk with the Media. We are now open and ready to talk with the media.”
The question of restrictions on the use of Social Media and with the claim of its openness was a discussion not left out. Xi Yanchun explained that the media culture of China is quite different from other countries, adding that the Chinese people believe in what Chinese Media says.