In a surprising move, the Chinese government announced on Monday that the annual news conference by Premier Li Qiang will be eliminated. This news conference, which was one of the rare occasions when a top Chinese leader interacted with the media, will no longer be held at the conclusion of the annual session of the legislature.

Increased Opportunities for Media

Lou Qinjian, the spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, mentioned that instead of the premier’s news conference, there will be more opportunities for journalists to ask questions directly to government ministers, officials, and the thousands of delegates attending the congress.

Unprecedented Change

Lou stated that unless there are special circumstances, the premier's press conference will not take place in the upcoming years. This decision marks a significant departure from the usual practice.

Focus on Economy

With the weeklong meeting of the largely ceremonial congress starting on Tuesday, all eyes are on any potential measures that the government may implement to revitalize the struggling economy. Premier Li is set to deliver an annual report that is likely to include the economic growth target for 2024.

Economic Growth Predictions

Notably, economists at both Citi and UBS anticipate that the growth target will remain steady at 5%. This prediction has led to positive movements in the Shanghai Composite (CN:SHCOMP) and the Hang Seng (HK:HSI) on Monday.

— contributed to this story

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