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Reporter's eye roll causes trouble with Chinese censors

14 March 2018

However, her face had already started appearing on T-shirts and phone cases.

The two journalists were part of the press conference following the annual meeting of China's National People's Congress, where questions are known to be screened and pre-approved.

The Chinese media's willingness to accept the word of the country's leadership is notorious but the mask slipped when one reporter rolled her eyes at a colleague's toadying question.

Liang Xiangyi, a correspondent for the Shanghai-based Yicai financial news network, reacts on Tuesdy, March 13, 2018, as another reporter questions a government official on the subject of state asset supervision.

- She scoffs at Zhang, turns around and eyes her from head to toe.

Soon after Liang Xiangyi became one of the most searched names in China, censors tried to curtail the hysteria.

Its nearly 3,000 delegates on Sunday almost unanimously endorsed a controversial constitutional amendment that removed presidential term limits, paving the way for Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely.

It was the eye-roll that launched a thousand gifs.

As for Zhang, her status as a "foreign journalist" was questioned by social media snoops, who claimed she pretended to be an outsider but was allegedly from China.

Chinese netizens across the country hailed Liang's honesty, with many saying the moment represented a collective national eye roll over the scripted news coverage of the rubber-stamp NPC. In one video, three men recreated the incident with a deadpan expression. The questioner, Zhang Huijun, wore red, the colour of China and the Chinese Communist Party.

"Urgent notice: all media personnel are prohibited from discussing the Two Sessions blue-clothed reporter incident on social media", a leaked censorship directive said according to the China Digital Times.

A leaked screenshot of an Yicai group chat showed Liang explaining herself.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, citing a fellow journalist, reported that Liang's credentials to cover the congress had been cancelled.

"The transformation of the responsibility of supervision for state assets is a topic that everyone is concerned about".

"With 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 the loss of national assets?" Liang asks, before signing off with a confident and concise: "Thank you!"

Reporter's eye roll causes trouble with Chinese censors