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South Africa sends first journalist covering China's 'two sessions'
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John Bailey, a correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), on Monday received his first press card for the annual sessions of China's parliament and top political advisory body. It is the first time for South Africa to send its journalist to cover the "two sessions".

"The two sessions will help me know China comprehensively, and I can cover China from an African perspective," Bailey told Xinhua.

Bailey Came to China last April and has been working as the first SABC correspondent based in Beijing. The eleven-month stay in China enabled him to witness and cover some important happenings in the country, including a devastating earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province and the Beijing Olympic Games.

"We recognize the important role that China is playing in the world," Bailey said. "South Africa and China have witnessed increasing good relations over past years, so it is good to have journalists here covering news from an African perspective."

"I am not only representing South Africa but also the whole Africa," he added.

The "two sessions" -- the Second Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC, the top legislature) and the Second Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC, the top political advisory body) -- are set to start March 5 and March 3, respectively.

As the global downturn continues to take its toll on China's economy, responses to the turmoil will be high on the agenda of lawmakers and political advisors.

Echoing that, Bailey also stressed that the global economic downturn would be the focus of his coverage.

"How Chinese government and people reacting to the crisis would be the most important question for my report to answer," he said.

He added he would be interested in China's policies on creating jobs, training the unemployed and encouraging entrepreneurship, as those policies concern millions of jobless migrant workers and new graduates.

South Africa and other African countries can learn a lot from the Chinese government's practice of expanding domestic consumption, the correspondent said.

"You can never import the Chinese model, but at least you can learn and adjust your system so as to benefit yourself as well," he said.

Having been working on the food safety issue for the past months, Bailey commented on China's first-ever Food Safety Law just approved, saying it was important for the government to "take actions" on the problem.

The law, which was approved by the NPC Standing Committee Saturday, will provide a legal basis for the government to strengthen food safety control "from production line to dining table".

Other topics such as China's education, housing system reform and anti-corruption campaign are also in Bailey's coverage plan.

China's annual "two sessions" have attracted world attention. Statistics show that as of March 1 more than 3,000 journalists had registered to cover the event, including more than 800 from abroad.

"China's influence over the world is growing so fast that stories about China always attract people in Africa including those in our country," Bailey said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2009)

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