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Rare opportunity to question China's premier

by - China Correspondent

Premier Wen Jiabao's annual press conference is a rare opportunity for domestic and foreign journalists to ask him questions directly, although the questions must be arranged in advance.

He speaks very slowly - just three questions and answers in 40 minutes so far. He averages around 12 minutes per answer. Roughly the same length as many best man speeches - minus the jokes.

So far he has said that he hopes the US will ease restrictions in China's exports to the country.

Wen Jiabao 'truly sorry'

by - China Correspondent
The Great Hall of the People, Beijing
The Great Hall of the People, Beijing Credit: Angus Walker

China's premier Wen Jiabao is using today's annual press conference - his last before stepping down in October - as an opportunity to say good bye to the people. He said: "I have the courage to face the people ... ultimately history will have the final say."

He also said he has "many regrets" and that he should take responsibility for problems in the economy, for which he is "truly sorry".

Plain clothes police issued with fire extinguishers

by - China Correspondent
A plain-clothes security team
A plain-clothes security team Credit: Angus Walker

A team of plain-clothes security police wait outside the room where Premier Wen Jiabao is delivering his annual press conference.

The squad has been issued with small fire extinguishers, perhaps in response to the spate of self-immolations in protest at what some see as China's occupation of Tibet.

More than 20 Tibetan monks and nuns have set themselves on fire in last year, mainly in south-west China.

China's premier to hold annual press conference

by - China Correspondent
China's Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square - the venue for today's conference
China's Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square - the venue for today's conference Credit: Angus Walker

China's premiere Wen Jiabao will hold his annual press conference today following the closing ceremony for the National People's Congress - China's parliament.

Tight security in Tiananmen Square
Tight security in Tiananmen Square Credit: Angus Walker

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