BBC's political show makes special edition from Shanghai

Friday, March 11, 2005

The BBC's political debate show Question Time aired a special edition from Shanghai yesterday. This was the first time that a political show from the West was made in China. The show was broadcast on BBC One and BBC World; however, it wasn't shown in China, as a condition of the programme amid fears that it would be inflammatory and present negative views of the government.

The panel contained the Chinese politician Liu Jianchao,who is the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman and Long Yongtu who is General Secretary for the Boao Forum for Asia, together with Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong, Isobel Hilton, a writer who has a large knowledge of China & David Tang, fashion designer.

The audience contained a mixture of Chinese and Westerners together with people invited by the government. The questions concerned, among other things, the next chief-executive of Hong Kong, China's attitudes toward Taiwan, whether China has growing problems concerning spoilt children, the growing human rights question, and whether China will economically overtake America in 20 years time.

Many members of the audience liked the show and hoped a similar show will be broadcast in China, in a few years time. The program, which was part of a week-long BBC focus on China, was hailed as a sign that China was becoming more liberal and accommodating to Western media presence and involvement in China.