Inkstone
    Mar
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    2018
    Mar
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    2018
    The epic eye-roll that set the Chinese Internet ablaze
    The epic eye-roll that set the Chinese Internet ablaze
    SOCIETY

    The epic eye-roll that set the Chinese Internet ablaze

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    by
    Grace Tsoi and Zoe Chen
    Grace Tsoi and
    Zoe Chen
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    The breaking news at China’s National People’s Congress is normally all about top-level politics and economic targets. 

    But this time around, it’s a spectacular eye-roll that has set the Chinese internet ablaze. 

    Dressed in a maroon blazer, Zhang Huijun of the little-known American Multimedia Television USA spent 40 seconds asking long-winded and rambling questions to government official Xiao Yaqing during a press conference.

    What she said

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    “I am Zhang Huijun, the executive director of AMTV USA. My question is:

    Improving the state-owned assets-management system and strengthening state-asset supervision by focusing on capital management is something that everyone is concerned about. As the chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, what are the new policies to be introduced in this area in 2018?

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of 'reform and opening-up' – our country will open up further. For the 'one belt one road' initiative by Secretary General Xi, state-owned enterprises will increase their investment in countries along the 'one belt, one road'. How are the overseas assets of state-owned enterprises effectively regulated to stem the outflow of capital of state-owned assets? What kind of mechanisms have been launched and how effective are the measures? Could you give us an introduction?”

    Fellow journalist Liang Xiangyi, in the blue blazer, watched Zhang with evident amusement at first. But, as the question continued, her brows furrowed, she sighed in annoyance and gave an exasperated eye-roll before looking away. 

    The whole interaction was captured on live TV.

    Chinese internet users couldn’t stop talking about the eye-roll, with some calling Liang a hero.

    A Weibo user writes: “Nicely done! You gave an eye-roll on our behalf!”

    “I am clapping for your honesty! Such questions are annoying and do not have any meaning,” another Weibo user says.

    Gifs and parody videos have now mushroomed on the Chinese Internet. 

    Chinese netizens also joined the party: they managed to find out pretty much everything about the two journalists. 

    Zhang once worked at state broadcaster CCTV and a LinkedIn page (likely hers) says she is the “most elegant, stylish reporter.”

    In an article published on a platform associated with news site iFeng, Zhang was described as a “goddess” and was said to have rejected a marriage proposal from an Indonesian prince during a business trip. 

    Liang Xiangyi's Weibo profile.
    Liang Xiangyi's Weibo profile. Photo: Weibo

    Meanwhile, Liang has become a minor celebrity. She has shot from several hundred followers – on social media platform Weibo – to 100,000 and counting.

    According to censorship-monitoring website Free Weibo, the eye-rolling journalist's Chinese name has been blocked from being searchable on Weibo, but her account is still intact.

    GRACE TSOI
    GRACE TSOI
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    Grace is a senior multimedia producer at Inkstone. She was previously a senior producer for BBC Chinese.

    ZOE CHEN
    ZOE CHEN
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    Zoe is a video journalist at Inkstone. Previously, she was a video journalist and producer for BBC Chinese and BBC News in Beijing.

    GRACE TSOI
    GRACE TSOI
    arrow rightarrow right
    Grace is a senior multimedia producer at Inkstone. She was previously a senior producer for BBC Chinese.

    ZOE CHEN
    ZOE CHEN
    arrow rightarrow right
    Zoe is a video journalist at Inkstone. Previously, she was a video journalist and producer for BBC Chinese and BBC News in Beijing.

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