Chinese state media anchor Liu Xin’s appearance on Trish Regan Primetime on the Fox Business Network on Wednesday evening has created a lot of buzz on the internet, both in the U.S. and in China. Even though CGTN didn’t make the live stream available for Chinese viewers due to “copyright issues,” many media outlets in China live-blogged the whole event closely, as many Chinese internet users were obsessed by the unprecedented interaction between the two hosts.
While the fully anticipated engagement was advertised as a “debate,” the actual conversation between Trish Regan and Liu Xin was more like an interview, where Regan asked questions on the current trade war, intellectual property, China’s development, and why China still labeled itself as a “developing country,” given the full size of its economy, and Liu answered. Later, Liu’s calm demeanor, eloquent responses, and, of course, fluent English won much praise from viewers at home and abroad.
So, who is Liu Xin?
Born in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, in 1975, Liu showed her interest and talent in the English language since childhood. She attended Nanjing University, one of the top universities in China, from 1993 to 1997, and majored in English and literature.
In 1996, Liu became the first Chinese student to participate in and win the International Public Speaking Competition in London.
In her speech, titled “The Mirror and I,” Liu advocated for women’s rights by comparing hers with those of her grandmother in her lifetime. She said that during the era when her grandmother lived, women were less visible in society and had a lower societal status compared with men’s. One example she gave was when there were guests visiting, women were not allowed to join the table with men, and could only eat in the kitchen. In comparison, Liu said she now had the freedom to make decisions and take charge of her life.
“The stories of my grandmother and myself mirrors the lives of millions of other women in China and perhaps in the world,” Liu said during the speech in 1996. “Many of them still live the life of my grandmother, their worth is not yet recognized. It is then the responsibility of a young woman like me to study hard and work hard so the two will see themselves and we’ll be seen in the mirror of the society.”
Since joining China Central Television (CCTV) in 1997 after graduating from college, Liu has hosted many national events, including the one in 2001 when Beijing won the bid as the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and the state dinner in 2009 when former U.S. president Barack Obama visited China.
Liu is a multilingual journalist who speaks French and Turkish in addition to English and Mandarin. She served as the Geneva bureau chief of CCTV in Switzerland for nearly six years before returning to China and starting her own opinion show, The Point with LIU Xin, on CGTN’s English channel.
However, her fame only took off recently on a global stage when she released a video through her program on May 22 in which she called out Fox host Trish Regan on her “hostile” rhetoric against China. She accused Regan of manipulating American viewers with her “emotions yet little substance” about the country. The rest is history: Regan responded and invited Liu to her program for a “debate” about trade issues, tariffs, and so forth.
As a mother of two children, Liu seems to have mastered the art of having a work-life balance. On her Weibo account, a social media platform equivalent to Twitter, she shares photos of her life outside work.