There was tension this year at China’s annual Parliament meeting as accusations arose over the alleged participation of ‘fake’ foreign reporters in a Q&A session after the meeting. In the past, there have been concerns over journalists who have been incentivized in some way, shape, or form to ask pre-approved questions to top Chinese policymakers, rather than more pressing questions that get at the real issues. This year, an Australian reporter named Louise Kenney, supposedly from “Australia’s Global CAMG,” lobbed up a soft-pitch question when the host of reporters was hoping for something to challenge the government officials. In response, a fellow Australian journalist called her a ‘fake’ foreign journalist in a frustrated outburst.
This occurrence is not all that surprising, as the Chinese government is known to very aggressively protect and dictate how it is portrayed in the media. However, what will be interesting to see is if these types of practices are mitigated as China continues its government crackdown on corruption. Will the crackdown carry over into fair media representation? We will have to wait and see.