Is this the eye roll of the century?
A reporter in China was caught on camera rolling her eyes in disgust at another reporter who was asking questions at the country's biggest political event of the year.
Footage of China Business News journalist Liang Xiangyi looking rather exasperated by a question lobbed by fellow reporter Zhang Huijun from American Multimedia Television USA was beamed live on national television for a country of 1.3 billion people to see.
This was what happened:
- Zhang was posing a long and convoluted question to a government official during a staged doorstop at the Great Hall of People, where the National People's Congress was being held.
- Liang takes a deep breath and touches her hair, while trying to conceal her disgust.
- She scoffs at Zhang, turns around and eyes her from head to toe.
- She then turns away and rolls her eyes with such revulsion that it was impossible to miss the epic TV moment captured by China's national news broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday.
Of course, this unscripted eye roll has taken a life of its own on social media in China.
GIFs, memes and copycat videos quickly proliferated. In one video, three men recreated the incident with a deadpan expression. Supporters also started flooding Liang's Weibo account with jokes and comments.
On messaging app WeChat, people were separating the two reporters into two parties, according to the colours of their clothing.
By the evening, efficient government censors had started deleting the online riffs, reported the New York Times.
But no one can beat the e-merchants, who were already selling T-shirts and cellphones cases with Liang's picture on online marketplace Taobao, reported New York Times.
While the eye-rolling incident has taken a humorous spin online, Liang has had her media accreditation to cover the event revoked by authorities.
Her Weibo page has been taken down and search results for her name have also been censored.
According to South China Morning Post, questions from reporters are normally screened and Zhang's question was picked.
For the record, this is a translation of the question Zhang was posing when Liang gave her the stink eye:
"The transformation of the responsibility of supervision for state assets is a topic of universal concern. Therefore, as the director of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, what new moves will you make in 2018? This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Reform and Opening-up Policy, and our country is going to further extend its openness to foreign countries. 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's the result of our supervision? Please summarize for us, thank you."
So next time you roll your eyes at someone or during meetings, make sure no one's looking - and that it's not a televised event too.