- A reporter was caught on live TV dramatically rolling her eyes at a government press conference in Beijing.
- Liang Xiangyi gave a fellow reporter a massive side-eye and an eye-roll as she asked a rambling and fawning question to a governmental official.
- The moment went viral, and Liang became a meme.
- China immediately banned all mention of her on the internet and the press.
China banned all mention of a reporter after she was caught on live TV dramatically rolling her eyes at a state conference earlier this week.
Liang Xiangyi, a TV reporter for the Yicai financial news website, was caught on camera giving a huge side-eye and rolling her eyes at a fellow reporter as she asked a rambling question at a conference on Tuesday.
The other reporter, Zhang Huijun of LA-based American Multimedia Television USA, had asked a “fawning question to a Chinese official pushing past the 30-second mark,” The New York Times reported.
The scene, which was aired by state news broadcaster CCTV, immediately translated into memes, fan videos, and even merchandise.
Vendors on Taobao, China’s version of eBay, sold t-shirt and smartphone cases with her image, The New York Times said.
China later banned all mention of Liang from social media, and state media rushed to note that there was “nothing to see.”
You can watch the entire clip here, which was preserved by social media monitoring site What’s on Weibo:
Later on Tuesday the Chinese government issued an “urgent notice” banning the media from discussing the episode. A copy of the directive was leaked online and reposted by the China Digital Times.
It said: “Urgent notice: all media personnel are prohibited from discussing the Two Sessions blue-clothed reporter incident on social media. Anything already posted must be deleted. Without exception, websites must not hype the episode.”
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of state newspaper Global Times, also published a video on Tuesday arguing there was “nothing to see” in Liang’s eye-roll, and bristled at the fact that the clip “managed to upstage the day’s online reports on the State Council’s institutional reform plan.”
China goes to great lengths to make sure everything goes their way. As the National People’s Congress, China’s annual legislative conference, takes place this month, Beijing authorities has ordered cafes and bars to serve no more than 10 foreigners at a time.
Shortly after the country proposed to ban presidential term limits last month, it also temporarily banned the letter N from the internet after it became associated with anti-government protest.
And if you were interested, this was the “fawning question” that earned the eye-roll, which was translated by The New York Times:
“The transformation of the responsibility of supervision for state assets is a topic of universal concern. 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?
“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.
“With General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi proposing the One Belt One Road Initiative, state-owned enterprises have increased investment to countries along the route of One Belt One Road, so how can the overseas assets of state-owned enterprises be effectively supervised to prevent loss of assets?
“What mechanisms have we introduced so far, and what’s the result of our supervision?
“Please summarise for us, thank you.”