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Eye of the storm: Chinese TV reporter suspended for using sunglasses and umbrella during Typhoon Meranti interview

A Chinese television journalist has been suspended from work after being photographed wearing sunglasses and holding an umbrella while interviewing volunteers in a typhoon-hit community in southeastern China.

The picture, widely circulated on the internet, showed her speaking to volunteers in Xiamen, in Fujian province, as they worked to help the city recover from the deadly Typhoon Meranti, which killed 13 mainland people and left 700,000 others affected.

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Xiamen TV station said on its microblog account on Tuesday that the woman journalist had behaved “inappropriately”while doing the interview.

“Her behaviour has violated the professional codes of conduct, damaged the image of journalists and has had a negative impact on the public,” it said.

Typhoon Meranti killed at least seven people in Fujian and left nine others missing after striking the southeast coast of the mainland on September 15. It also killed one other person and injured 44 others after striking Taiwan.

The decision to suspend the journalist came days after the photograph went viral after being shared by Chinese internet users.

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Most people that wrote comments criticised her attire, particularly as she was speaking to volunteers who were busy clearing up the devastated city.

Some people said it was unnecessary to wear sunglasses or hold up an umbrella that day as the sunshine was not too intense.

They also said wearing that sunglasses while doing the interview suggested the journalist did not respect the people she was interviewing.

Some others questioned the TV station’s decision.

One internet user said: “Does the broadcaster have stipulations that say that journalists who don’t appear on screen cannot hold umbrellas or wear sunglasses while doing interviews?

“Is it a common practice that as long as they are being pressured by the public, employers will impose tough punishment, whether or not the employees’ misdeeds are serious?”