China delegates told to leave selfie sticks at home

Delegates at the 2015 National People's Congress take a selfie Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Selfie sticks were all the rage at last year's meetings

Delegates attending China's major annual political meetings in Beijing have been warned that selfie sticks are no longer allowed.

Politicians, journalists and business leaders were spotted clutching the ubiquitous extending poles at last year's meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). But this time around the authorities have banned them from sessions in the Great Hall of the People, saying delegates should be focused on their work and not snapping photographs of themselves, the South China Morning Post reports. The ban also applies to journalists reporting from the meetings.

"The biggest task for delegates here is to perform their duties," says CPPCC spokesman Zhang Jing'an, adding that people waving selfie sticks around creates a bad impression and is also distracting. A commentator writing in the official People's Daily newspaper concedes that some people might find the restrictions "unreasonable", but says that China's sheer size means that strict rules need to be embraced.

Known as the "two sessions", the annual gatherings of China's ruling elite sees thousands of Communist Party officials, local government representatives and businesspeople gather to discuss major policy issues.

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