Caixin
Oct 25, 2021 07:16 PM
CHINA

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Promoted to Assistant Minister

Hua Chunying. Photo: VCG
Hua Chunying. Photo: VCG

Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson and head of the ministry’s department of information, has been promoted to assistant foreign minister, the latest in a spate of changes in the leadership of the ministry that began early this year.

Deng Li, assistant foreign minister since August of last year, has been promoted to vice foreign minister, according to the foreign ministry. The 56-year-old is in charge of issues related to West Asia, North Africa, Africa and Europe, consular affairs and archives.

Hua will be overseeing the ministry’s work related to information, protocol and translation. The 51-year-old is the youngest among “principal officials” in the foreign ministry, according to the ministry’s website. She was the 27th foreign ministry spokesperson since the post was established in 1983, the fifth woman to hold the job, and the second woman director-general of the ministry’s department of information.

Several veteran Chinese diplomats who had served as a spokesperson for the foreign ministry have been appointed to important roles. They include Ma Zhaoxu, currently a vice foreign minister; Cui Tiankai, the longest-serving former Chinese ambassador to the U.S.; and Qin Gang, China’s new ambassador to Washington.

Hua, a Jiangsu native, joined the foreign ministry in 1993 as a staff member and attaché of the Department of Western European Affair. She then served in posts at the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, the Chinese Mission to the European Union, and the ministry’s Department of European Affairs, before being named the foreign ministry spokesperson and deputy director general of the ministry’s department of information in 2012. In July 2019, she was promoted to the director general of the department, replacing Lu Kang, who was appointed director of the ministry’s Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs.

Hua first met with reporters as the foreign ministry spokesperson in November 2012 when she was introduced by Qin Gang, the then-director of the department of information. She held her first regular press briefing on Nov. 19 that year.

Domestic media noted her remarks during press briefings as featuring “distinctive personal characteristics, affable and humorous interactions, as well as righteous refutations.”

At a press briefing in August, responding to a question on Afghan issues and the United States’ democratic model, she said that “Democracy is not Coca-Cola, which, with the syrup produced by the United States, tastes the same across the world. Many Chinese prefer Beijing-based soda drink branded Arctic Ocean.”

And in response to a question on China’s purported wolf-warrior diplomacy at a press briefing in December, she said that “If some people call China’s diplomacy ‘wolf-warrior diplomacy’ just because we fight back and speak the truth in the face of unscrupulous attacks, slanders and denigration, I don’t see any problem in living with that ‘wolf-warrior’ title, as long as we are fighting for China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, national dignity and honor, and international fairness and justice.”

“How can anyone think China has no right to speak the truth while they have every right to slander, attack, smear and hurt China? … Do they think that China has no choice but the silence of the lambs while they are unscrupulously lashing out at the country with trumped-up charges?” she quipped.

There have been leadership changes in the foreign ministry since earlier this year, with three vice foreign ministers, Qin Gang, Zheng Zeguang and Luo Zhaohui, getting new roles. In June, Zheng, a veteran diplomat who has focused on U.S.-related issues in the past two decades, was named the new ambassador to the U.K. In April, Luo, who was in charge of issues related to Asia, treaty and law, consular affairs, and external security affairs, was named chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency.

Contact reporter Cai Xuejiao (xuejiaocai@caixin.com) and editor Lu Zhenhua (zhenhualu@caixin.com)

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