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Representative Rui

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芮代表 (ruì dài biǎo): Representative Rui

While Obama was in South Korea in November 2010 for the G-20 summit, he attended a press conference. At this press conference he reserved his final question for the South Korean press. After a pause in which no South Korean came forth to ask a question, a CCTV reporter, Rui Chenggang stepped forward and in English said, “I hate to disappoint you President Obama; I'm actually Chinese, but I think I get to represent the entire Asia. We’re one family here in this part of the world.”

This comment by Rui whose nationalist leanings are well known (read about Rui’s attempt to drive Starbucks out of the Forbidden City) set the Chinese blogosphere abuzz. Some saw a shadow in Rui's comments of China's increased assertiveness and leadership role in Southeast Asia. Others saw in his comments a reflection of how the Chinese government presumes to represent the Chinese people without the prior grant of their consent. (See for example bei-represent). One blogger quipped, if only his father were Li Gang, then he would be truly invincible.

See a video of the exchange between Obama and Rui here.

For more about Representative Rui in Chinese, see here.