Hua’s appointmen­t praised on­line

Net users reflect on high­lights of her as FM spokesper­son

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Zhang Hui and Zhang Han

Chi­nese ne­ti­zens on Mon­day hailed the appointmen­t of Hua Chun­y­ing as head of the For­eign Min­istry’s in­for­ma­tion de­part­ment, with many prais­ing the long­time min­istry spokesper­son’s man­ners, past hu­mor­ous re­sponses and force­ful tone dur­ing routine press con­fer­ences.

Hua takes over the post from Lu Kang, who will as­sume the po­si­tion of direc­tor-gen­eral of the De­part­ment of North Amer­i­can and Ocea­nian Af­fairs of the For­eign Min­istry.

As the coun­try’s fifth woman to be For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son, Hua is liked by many Chi­nese peo­ple who de­scribe her han­dling of press con­fer­ences as “gen­tle but fierce and pithy.”

Ne­ti­zens have been impressed by her per­sonal charm and pro­fes­sional per­for­mance. Many Chi­nese ne­ti­zens call her “Sis­ter Hua” on so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

At Mon­day’s press con­fer­ence, Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Geng Shuang said that the min­istry al­ways ad­vo­cates gen­der equal­ity.

“Both men and women can serve as spokesper­sons and head the in­for­ma­tion de­part­ment of the min­istry. We def­i­nitely mean it,” Geng said.

Chi­nese ne­ti­zens on Weibo sent their con­grat­u­la­tions to Hua.

Some thanked her for be­ing an ex­cel­lent role model for women, say­ing that her appointmen­t shows that women can make it to China’s po­lit­i­cal stage.

In 2012, the short-haired and smiling Hua’s first ap­pear­ance im­me­di­ately prompted public dis­cus­sions with many ne­ti­zens call­ing her “beau­ti­ful and grace­ful.”

In Au­gust 2018, Hua re­futed Ja­panese Sankei News’ ground­less charge that China “il­le­gally prevented” the pa­per’s jour­nal­ist from at­tend­ing a news event in Bei­jing. Hua’s 1,100-word re­sponse was rare for a spokesper­son and hailed by ne­ti­zens as “tough and pithy.”

Hua’s hu­mor also showed that a spokesper­son could also project soft power dur­ing press con­fer­ences.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Oc­to­ber 25, 2018, Hua hu­mor­ously com­mented that cer­tain peo­ple in the US are spar­ing no ef­forts to win the “Academy Award for Best Orig­i­nal Screen­play,” in re­sponse to re­ports that Chi­nese and Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies had been bug­ging Pres­i­dent Trump’s iphones.

She even sug­gested US of­fi­cials should use mo­bile phones pro­duced by Huawei if they were wor­ried about the se­cu­rity of their iphones.

Hua is pop­u­lar among Ja­panese ne­ti­zens. Search her name on Google in Ja­panese and a col­lec­tion of her pho­tos of her life ex­pe­ri­ences pops up.

Ja­panese in­ter­net users even nick­named her bi­majo, or magic beauty.

Pho­tos of her laugh­ing were widely cir­cu­lated in 2017 among Chi­nese and Ja­panese ne­ti­zens, when Hua mis­took a re­porter’s ques­tion at a press con­fer­ence.

A Ja­panese re­porter asked Hua for her com­ments on gi­ant panda Xiangx­i­ang’s public de­but at a Tokyo zoo.

Hua mis­heard “Xiangx­i­ang” for “Shan­shan,” the Chi­nese pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the name of for­mer Ja­panese vice for­eign min­is­ter Shin­suke Sugiyama.

When she was cor­rected, Hua burst into hearty laugh­ter. News re­ports of the hu­mor­ous in­ci­dent led Ja­panese ne­ti­zens to say Hua’s smile was cute and that her laugh will fur­ther im­prove bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

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