A seemingly trivial moment during a media conference of the 13th National People’s Congress has shown that actions indeed speak louder than words after it incited a frenzy on social media.
During the conference on Tuesday (Mar 13), a female journalist inadvertently stole the limelight after making a disapproving glance at a fellow journalist, reported independent news site What’s on Weibo.
The episode – since dubbed as “The Lianghui Incident” – was broadcasted live and became widely shared on WeChat, China’s dominant messaging service.
A flurry of discussion soon erupted on social media sites like Weibo and an online vigilante manhunt to uncover who the journalists are and the underlying story.
The unimpressed journalist in blue was identified as Liang Xiangyi who works for Shanghai-based financial media outlet Yicai.com.
The reporter in red was revealed to be Zhang Huijun from US-based American Multimedia Television (AMTV) channel.
Apparently, Liang was fed up with Zhang for posing a long-winded question about China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
At a conference where journalists’ questions are expected to be succinct, Liang showed herself to be naturally exasperated and reacted by conspicuously rolling her eyes.
The incident resulted in the term “Question-Asking B*tch” to emerge on Chinese social media, making fun of self-important women in the media industry as well as “Lianghui Elegant Sister”, based on Zhang’s personal nickname on WeChat and Weibo.
Some social media users did not take the incident very well, especially those from Chinese media circles.
Guangzhou Daily staff member Dai Bin commented on Weibo: “This is a serious occasion and people have to pay attention to the time they use asking a question – after all, it’s the National People’s Congress. As for the woman who rolls her eyes, perhaps she is forgetting that she is being filmed, and forgot about her manners. May this be a lesson for her.”
Others took it more lightheartedly, with one commenter saying: “Today, these two beautiful women are breaking the internet! The red beauty reporter is asking an intelligent question, and the blue beauty looks charmingly stupefied! Such a difference between red and blue, which one do you like more?”
The viral sensation to an otherwise tedious and uneventful occasion quickly spawned dozens of memes.
— MC 视界 (@Manyi2017) March 13, 2018
Found my cell phone cover for the spring season on Taobao pic.twitter.com/wTjgndsfDx
— Lulu Yilun Chen (@luluyilun) March 13, 2018
Some wasted no time to make parody videos like this one uploaded to YouTube by What’s on Weibo:
The scene even captured the attention of other news outlets.
A Chinese reporter who rolled her eyes at a long-winded question became a social media hero https://t.co/uiKFjINzHA
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) March 13, 2018
Although “eye-rolling” became the day’s buzzword on Chinese social media, Liang’s name has become one of the most censored words by night.
蓝衣女名字“梁相宜”超过“修宪”和“宪法”成为微博第一屏蔽词。 As of now “Liang Xiangyi” (name of the eye-rolling Chinese reporter in blue suit) has overtaken “constitutional amendments” and “constitutions” to become the No.1 most censored Weibo word.https://t.co/YgTUSp5iEy pic.twitter.com/hTZAroS9iF
— KurikoC (@kuriko_c) March 13, 2018
Her personal Weibo page has also since been taken down.
Nevertheless, social media users still seem to be keeping the viral trend close to their hearts with some proclaiming Mar 13 to be an official Weibo “roll your eyes” day.