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2020-05-20 HKT 17:45
Media access to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will be curtailed further this year, as the session which was postponed from March due to the coronavirus outbreak gets underway on Thursday.
A spokesman for the session, Guo Weimin, on Wednesday spoke from the Great Hall of the People, and the press watched on a giant screen at a media centre in the Haidian District of Beijing.
Some of the social distancing measures in the capital were relaxed ahead of the session as thousands of delegates head there.
Guo also said because of Covid-19, the annual meeting has been compressed by four and a half days to a week.
There will be new restrictions for the press during the meetings, as journalists will not be allowed to cover smaller panel discussions.
Only a small group of reporters will be allowed into the Great Hall of the People, yet they won't be allowed to interview CPPCC members face to face.
They can only submit written questions, and interview members through video conferencing.
Guo during his briefing said Covid-19 is the enemy of the world, noting that the virus has no boundaries, and people of different races face the same problems.
He said politicians from a small amount of countries, including the US, have created propaganda and smeared China to claim that the virus originated in Wuhan.
Guo alleged these politicians are making such moves for political reasons, trying to divert attention from their countries' failings and shirking their responsibilities.
But he said these plots won't work as the government and Chinese experts have made timely clarifcations and responses, and "an international agency with authority" has also opposed the scams.
Guo also denied that China had delayed telling the world about the virus, with Beijing facing accusations that it was late in sounding the alarm, allowing the virus to spread globally.