Military’s public face hangs up flack jacket
Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, who officially retired as a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday, often peppered his briefings with humor and internet buzzwords.
Yang, 47, who joined the ministry’s information office in 2010 and was appointed its director in 2015, stepped down due to the health issues of close family members.
Hailed by his colleagues as an independent and deep thinker, he also is regarded as someone who managed to connect with younger generations.
In 2013, during a news conference on the possibility of China’s first aircraft carrier, the CNS Liaoning, taking part in a far-sea operation, Yang said the vessel was not a zhainan, a word commonly used by netizens that translates as “indoorsy man”.
He also suggested in September that Ash Carter, then the US defense secretary, should not shuaiguo — a buzzword meaning to throw unwanted responsibility onto others — after the United States criticized China following a nuclear missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“I love my uniform, and my job at the information office, and I have given my heart and soul throughout my military career,” Yang told Global Times.
He received a thundering ovation from the journalists in attendance at his final news conference in April.