Chinese Obama Girl, In Red Coat, In Black Dress: Wang Zifei

As you may have already heard, a girl wearing a red coat and dressed in black sitting behind American President Obama, during his recent Shanghai speech and “town hall meeting” with Chinese youth, has become popular on the Chinese internet and now even more popular on the international news (thank you, Jean).


As some of you already know, I did not report on this story when it first happen because I want to see how this story will unfold. Now that many chinaSMACK readers are asking about this story, here are some translations and explanations of this Chinese internet phenomenon:

The beautiful woman in the red coat becomes the mystery woman in black.

Why did Chinese netizens notice her? Because she is a beautiful and fashionable girl, and also because she confidently shook the American president’s hand when meeting him:

Her face is covered by a hand, but her confident eyes impressed Chinese netizens.


Many netizens speculated about her identity, because that is what male netizens do when they see a pretty girl, because they wonder if the United States president has the same reaction they have. Some female netizens asked about her clothes and where they can buy them. Soon, of course, netizens began a human flesh search and soon discovered and publicized the identity of this girl. Her name is Wang Zifei, and she is a Shanghai Jiaotong University student studying Business.

Wang Zifei's personal blog photograph.

Wang Zifei tried to remain low-key during this time, but eventually, she acknowledged that she was the girl in the red coat, the mystery girl in black behind Obama.

In a post on her personal blog, titled “What has President Obama brought me?“, Wang Zifei responded to many netizens and netizens’ accusations against her that she was intentionally trying to become famous, or perhaps a female government official trying to promote herself for political motives. For example, people said her seat was chosen specifically so she could be seen on camera. To this, she responded:

The students participating in this meeting come from Shanghai’s nine universities, and each school was assigned certain seats. The seat I sat in was simply one of the seats given to Jiaotong University, there was no special arrangement. Moreover, some people had much better seats for being filmed on camera than me, so why aren’t they being accused of self-promotion? As for my upright/proper seating posture, we are fully aware that this meeting is being broadcast live to the whole world through the internet. I represent not only myself and my school, at the same time, I am also represent our country. May I ask, do you think I can be relaxed/casual?

In reply to netizen suspicions about why she wore a red coat and then took it off in front of the crowd, she explained that she had dressed appropriate attire for the town hall meeting, that her caot was due to the cold weather, and that she could not know that a reporter who be taking pictures of her at that moment before Obama had entered the meeting:

So actually, the meeting room’s temperature was not especially high, and I would have preferred to keep my coat on, but if I had really kept wearing a red coat and appeared on camera, according to netizens’ comments, wouldn’t I then be accused of desperately seeking fame?

Her overall feelings about negative Chinese netizen comments involving her:

Although certain netizens’ comments were hurtful, I can understand. Perhaps they were simply attacking certain phenomena in society through me, but in this I have become an innocent victim. However, to those figures who have some influence on the internet yet did not first investigate before recklessly commenting, you actually claimed this was a female government official’s publicity stunt? That there would actually be a female government official at a Chinese youth discussion meeting? Did you not even look at the topic/title before recklessly commenting? You need to know that you guys are leaders of public opinion. This kind of irresponsible behavior, is it hurting others or trampling upon your own credibility?

To ruin someone only requires one sentence, but to foster someone takes thousands of sentences, be merciful [careful] when speaking~

Wang Zifei ended her post in a manner that was perhaps a little different from the image (sexy OL?) many netizens created of her from the Obama town hall meeting:

The mystery has been solved, there’s no need for everyone to continue speculating. Recently, my studies have definitely been impacted, so I hope everything can quickly return to normal. I really like little animals, because they are so innocent and cute. I hope after this incident passes, I can continue being my simple self. Here is a photo of me with a small kangaroo, I wish everyone happiness and good luck~


“I really like little animals”…?

Wang Zifei is not “Obama Girl“. She does not make videos showing off her breasts, butt, and body to promote herself and her love for Barack Obama. She was not trying to promote herself, does not want to become more famous, and she just wants to be herself.

See Also:

  • “Mystery woman in black behind Obama at the town hall meeting becomes popular and speaks out” (ChinaHush)
  • “Obama who? Shanghai’s town hall has another star” (Shanghaiist)
  • “Obama’s lady in red” (The Dark Side)
  • Chinese news report video, before Wang Zifei’s identity was known, 1:38 (Youku)
  • Another Chinese news video report, after Wang Zifei’s identity was revealed, 2:24 (Youku)

Find your own girl in red coat, mystery woman in black, or girl who likes small kangaroos. chinaSMACK personals.


2009 December 3 UPDATE: Please see “The Obama Girl Was An Internet Promotion Campaign” (EastSouthWestNorth). What do you think? The truth or more rumors? ;)


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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