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.
As the question about China's Belt and Road infrastructure project dragged on for 45 seconds, Liang grimaced, glanced sideways to give the woman dressed in red a disbelieving once-over, and concluded with a majestic, head-turning eye-roll.
The journalist asking the question Tuesday introduced herself as Zhang Huijun with a USA news outlet, American Multimedia Television - though she kept referring to China as "our country" in her remarks. There were rare events when a foreign reporter gets away with a challenging question, but this was not one of those moments.
Such was the popularity that Xiangyi soon became one of the most-searched names online even taking over Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The eye-roll was broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV) and filmed by many watching.
On Chinese social media, GIFs and other online riffs inspired by Liang's epic eye roll quickly proliferated, and by evening they were being deleted by government censors. T-shirts and mobile phone covers celebrating Liang's inadvertent and flamboyant show of dissent were selling on online stores such as Taobao.
"You are the only thing I remember since the beginning of the National People's Congress", one commenter wrote.
A reporter has been caught on live television dramatically rolling her eyes at a fellow journalist's question.
On messaging app WeChat, people were separating the two reporters into two parties, according to the colours of their clothing.
China's censors are scrambling to put a lid on a social media frenzy unleashed by a journalist's reaction to a softball question during the mostly scripted annual parliament session. Neither Zhang's employer nor Liang's responded to a request for comment on the incident on Tuesday.
"The transformation of the responsibility of supervision for state assets is a topic that everyone is concerned about". 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 are the results?" Liang asks, before signing off with a confident and concise: "Thank you!"More news: Windows 10 'Patch Tuesday' updates for March now rolling out