An Epic Eye Roll Enthralls China

One journalist's disdain of a long-winded colleague goes viral, gets censored
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2018 12:06 PM CDT
Updated Mar 17, 2018 8:45 AM CDT

Sometimes an eye roll is so much more than an eye roll. The South China Morning Post describes one delivered by one journalist to another as the "country's biggest political event of the year." The New York Times sees it as a "rare puncturing of the artifice" surrounding the ongoing National People's Congress. You can watch it in this clip. A reporter in red begins posing a long-winded softball question to a government minister, and a fellow reporter in blue can't contain her disdain as the question nears the 40-second mark. She turns and gives her colleague a withering look, followed by the eye roll, which was captured by national news broadcaster CCTV. It went viral quickly, spreading across Chinese social media until government censors began blocking searches.

The Washington Post manages to identify the women. The reporter in red is Zhang Huijun of American Multimedia Television, which is based in California but affiliated with the state-owned CCTV. The woman in blue is Liang Xiangyi of Yicai Media, a financial news service, and her name soon became the most-censored term on social media site Weibo, per the Times. Despite the censorship, images riffing on the incident were proliferating. A translation of the boring-in-any-language question might help explain Liang's frustration. “The transformation of the responsibility of supervision for state assets is a topic of universal concern," Zhang says. "Therefore, as the director of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, what new moves will you make in 2018?" And on and on. (More China stories.)

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