Who is Hua Chunying? The spokeswoman who suggests Trump get a Huawei

BY SILVI WRITER

 

“If they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei.”

Hua Chunying (华春莹), spokeswoman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made headlines on Chinese and international medias on Thursday, by jokingly suggest US President Donald Trump swap iPhone for Huawei amid bugging claim.

The New York Times reported on October 24 that Chinese and Russian spies listen to Trump’s conversations made on his unsecured iPhone.

Trump dismissed the report. In a tweet, he insisted he only used government-approved phones.

But the report drew an unusual response from Hua.

“Reading this report, I feel that today in the United States there really are some people who are doing their utmost to win best script at the Oscars,” the 48-year-old said.

And she suggested a handset from one of China’s biggest phone manufacturers might be more secure.

“If they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei. If they are still not at ease, then in order to have an entirely secure device, they can stop using all forms of modern communication devices and cut off all ties with the outside world,” she said.

Her comment went viral on the internet and was viewed millions of times on various platforms.

At least two executives at Huawei Technologies have taken to social media to support Hua’s suggestion, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday.

Huawei’s mobile segment chief Richard Yu Chengdong showed his agreement on Thursday in a post to his WeChat social media feed.

“Agreed. Can use Huawei Mate 20 series!” Yu wrote in his posting, which included a video of Hua’s comments at the foreign ministry briefing and a cheeky smiley.

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It’s not the first time the spokeswoman had impressed the media with her eloquence and sharpness.

Earlier this month, Hua rejected US Vice-President Mike Pence’s charge that Beijing was meddling in American elections as “unwarranted” and “ridiculous”.

She said Pence had “slandered” China.

“This is nothing but speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it,” she has said.

In July, Hua offered a direct, sharp rebuttal to earlier claims made by Pence regarding China’s trade practices, calling out Pence for his wrong accusations, urging him to read a history book on China’s technological development and warning the US of global retaliation for its trade protectionism.

In June, in response to the US tariffs imposed on trade with China, Hua said “in international relations, every time you change, every time you break a promise, the country’s credibility is damaged.”

China denies radar incident
Hua speaks at a press conference at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing on Feb 8, 2013. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

The fifth spokeswoman

Hua became the fifth spokeswoman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nov, 2012, and 27th spokesperson since the ministry set up position in 1983.

Hua was born in a highly educated family in Huai’an of eastern China’s coastal Jiangsu Province, both her parents were officials.

Her father was the former Secretary of the Discipline Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of China in Huai’an County and her mother was the Deputy Director of a local district.

Hua graduated from Nanjing University in 1992, where she majored in English language at the School of Foreign Languages.

Hua Chunying enjoys playing tennis.

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Not poker faced

Hua came into the spotlight across Japan’s press in December 2017, after she broke into a rarely seen hearty laughter when she realized she had misheard a reporter’s question at a daily news briefing.

At a briefing held on December 19, when giant panda “Xiang Xiang”, who was born this June, officially met with tourists at Ueno Zoo, a Japanese reporter asked Hua, in English, if she had any comment to make about Xiang Xiang’s public debut at the zoo in Tokyo.

However, Hua misheard “Xiang Xiang” for “Shan Shan”, the Chinese pronunciation of the surname of Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Chief of Japan’s Foreign Ministry. Hua then responded with a serious take on Sino-Japanese relations.

When a Chinese reporter pointed out that she had misunderstood, Hua burst into laughter.

She then answered again, “The adorable giant panda serves as little ambassador to promote friendly exchanges between China and foreign countries. We believe that Xiang Xiang will be treated with great hospitality in Japan. We also hope it will enhance the feelings and friendship between Chinese and Japanese people and play a positive role in pushing forward the sound and stable development of bilateral relations.”

Japanese netizens commented that Hua’s smile is unexpectedly cute, especially since they always think of her as poker faced because she seldom laughs.

One Chinese netizen jokingly compared the incident to failing to catch a conversation in the listening comprehension part of a national English proficiency exam.

 

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