Can the Press get Chinese President Xi Jinping to answer an impromptu question?

by Jerome Cohen

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Seattle on Tuesday for his first state visit to the US. Now that he is in America, can the press ask him unscripted questions? In fact, these visits from PRC leaders are staged to avoid direct, unapproved questions. Things are generally scripted to go smoothly and “avoid offense”. Yesterday’s WSJ interview, in writing (EnglishChinese), is generally the best one can get, and that is a coup. Even his dinner hosts will find it hard to find a moment for a real conversation. Former Prime Minister Zhu Rongji was a rare exception because he could field public questions, even in English, and often gave bold, off the cuff answers.