A large screen on a building shows a propaganda image of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on a heavily polluted day in Beijing.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Iranian journalist at a conference in Beijing demanded her seat be changed when she realized she was seated next to an Israeli journalist from The Jerusalem Post.
Fatemeh Safaei, the editor in chief of the English news desk at the Islamic Republic News Agency, was seated alphabetically at the People's Daily 2016 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road on Tuesday. That placed her between an editor from Indonesia and Amy Spiro, The Jerusalem Post's night editor, who was also attending the forum.
The two were friendly and collegial when they first sat down, Spiro said.
It was only when Safaei perused the alphabetical guide listing the journalists in attendance, that she realized she was seated next to an Israeli. She bookmarked the page in the book with Spiro's face on it, quietly gathered her belongings and walked away.
According to Spiro, Safaei approached a representative at the conference and, showing him the page, demanded a new seat. When the conference representative returned to collect Safaei's nameplate from her original seat, Spiro asked him what the problem was.
"She has some concerns," he said.
"About me?" Spiro asked.
"About the relations between the two countries," he said.
Later in the conference, Ahmed Elsayed, chairman of Egypt's Al-Ahram, addressed the hundreds of reporters gathered at the conference in Arabic.
"US intervention in other countries' domestic affairs has given rise to terrorism," he said, according to the simultaneous translation into English, which then took an abrupt break.
Elsayed then lambasted Western intervention in Libya, Syria and other countries, before praising China for taking "a neutral stance." He continued by calling to "eradicate the influence of Western countries," and said that countries which don't pursue a path of peace and development "will be punished."