Reporters on the Job

While the snowstorms paralyzing transportation in China have been the focus of news coverage, some folks are enjoying the white stuff. Above, a man started a snowman Saturday in Hangzhou, China.

No Spin Doctor: The Chinese leadership's new penchant for good public relations in dealing with a crisis does not appear to have rubbed off on more junior officials, says staff writer Peter Ford.

At a press conference in Bejing, a Railroad Ministry official was lobbed a softball question about how his ministry had succeeded in opening a blocked stretch of the Guangzhou to Beijing trunk line.

"Did he take this opportunity to extol the heroism of electricians battling blizzards and locomotive drivers braving snowdrifts to ensure that millions of migrant workers would see their loved ones for New Year's?" asks Peter, who had his pen poised over his notebook. "He looked up from his notes, and in a stolid, deadpan voice gave an answer straight out of central casting for a Chinese Communist bureaucrat."

How had they done it?

The official replied: "We followed the planning and instructions of the central authorities."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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