At a press conference headed by the People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan on March 11 at the National People’s Congress, Louise Kenney, who claimed to be a reporter from Australia’s Global CAMG radio, affiliated with state-run China Radio International, was one of several journalists specifically invited to ask staged questions, AFP reported.
At this carefully orchestrated press conference, the first eight questions came from state-controlled media. When Kenny was called on, her question was not about the slowing down of China’s growth rate and its effects on shadow banking, or anything that could remotely cause embarrassment. Instead, she just asked about the government’s policies on allowing more foreign corporations into the agricultural insurance market, a very lackluster question indeed.
A Chinese reporter muttered that she was a “foreign shill.” Another foreign reporter shouted in Chinese: “Give foreign media a chance! Don’t pick on fake foreign media,” triggering applause and laughter. A reporter from The Wall Street Journal was finally allowed to ask a real question.