Mainland Follies: Journalist's eye roll during China's parliamentary conference goes viral

Mainland Follies: Journalist's eye roll during China's parliamentary conference goes viral

The scripted nature of the question mirrored the stage-managed character of the annual parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), which is a ceremonial event where thousands of handpicked party faithful give unanimous approval to government doctrine. Due to the controversy, Liang has even had her name censored on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Zhang works for American Multimedia Television USA, a Los Angeles-based organisation which, according to its website, previously had ties to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Liang Xiangyi, a correspondent for the Shanghai-based Yicai Financial News Network, looked Zhang Huijun up and down as she asked a tedious, 44-second question about the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

Impeccably coiffed and sporting a bright blue suit jacket, Yicai financial news service reporter Liang Xiangyi sighed and raised a sceptical eyebrow at another journalist's query to a delegate at a National People's Congress press event Tuesday.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Reform and Opening-up Policy, and our country is going to further extend its openness to foreign countries".

One online commentator, who used the name Cecillia, wrote on the WeChat social media platform: "These days, you roll your eyes in your heart or behind people's back".

Talk about an eye-roll that shook the world.

The supposedly pro-government question that resulted in the sensational eye-roll was, "The transformation of the responsibility of supervision for state assets is a topic of universal concern".

Image Source
Image Source

"I am Zhang Huijun, executive director of American Multimedia Television USA", the journalist began before launching into a 40-second monologue as tiresome as it was directionless.

On Sunday, Xi Jinping set himself up as China's leader for life, scrapping presidential term limits in a dramatic power play that experts believe could open up cavernous divisions within the Communist party elite.

Whatever she chooses to do after the conference however, at least one person thinks she should maybe try her hand at acting. On Taobao, the freewheeling online marketplace, vendors began selling T-shirts and cellphone cases bearing her image.

Then came the drama of the two reporters, one in red, one in blue.

"Anything already posted must be deleted".

But Liang's epic eye-roll has now grabbed the limelight.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, citing a fellow journalist, reported that Liang's credentials to cover the congress had been cancelled. Supporters also started flooding Liang's Weibo account with jokes and comments. What is the relationship between China's free trade negotiations and the multi-lateral trading system? "Please summarize for us, thank you".

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