China reporter’s devastating eye-roll wiped from internet by censors after it spawns viral memes

The National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, has for years been an arena for a very Chinese brand of ‘media transparency’.

It is where Beijing-friendly reporters ask softball, fawning questions that have been agreed in advance by authorities.

The facade gives officials a platform to burnish the credentials of the ruling Communist Party, and hands complicit journalists their moment of fame as they hold the microphone.

But on Tuesday an exasperated journalist unmasked the deception with an eye-roll that was shared by millions in China, before Beijing’s huge army of censors swung into action.

Liang Xiangyi a reporter for Yicai Media, was captured in the clip giving a devastating glance towards another female reporter as she asked a long-winded question on China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.

The reporter with the microphone, was identified as Zhang Huijun, a reporter for American Multimedia Television (AMTV), which has strong links to China’s state broadcaster, CCTV.

She then went on – for more than 40 seconds – to praise how China will continue to open up to the outside world as it marks the "40th anniversary of reform and opening up".

"General Secretary Xi (Jinping) backs the Belt and Road Initiative," she added, before asking Mr Xiao how state-assets will be "effectively monitored".

It was all too much for Ms Liang, who later apparently told a colleague in a leaked message: "The women next to me was being a moron."

But while her uncompromising gesture made her an Internet star – at least for a few moments – it also apparently landed her in hot water.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said her accreditation to report on the NPC had been revoked.

However, after Wednesday few would have been able to view again the clip which made her a celebrity, as it appears to have been wiped from the internet by censors.

People were also unable to search for the term ‘journalist in blue’, while memes mocking the episode were also unavailable.  

Additional reporting by Christine Wei

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