Xi Jinping took his relaxed style as the leader of China's Communist party to a new level, as he lauded the beauty of a woman he had just met at a public event.
In a remark that many would have expected from former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, but never from a Chinese president, Xi, 59, called a young woman "beautiful" in front of reporters at a reception in Wuhan.
"Hello beautiful," the local Chutian Metropolis Daily quoted Xi as saying while he shook hands with Guo Tingting, a young female resident.
Guo, who was attending Xi's visit to a local government service building, the Wuhan Citizens Home, was reportedly overjoyed by having her good look noticed by the President.
"See you who dares to say that I'm not a beauty from now on," she told the group of colleagues she was with.
"This is definitely better than calling women 'comrades'", a microblogger commented, according to South China Morning Post.
Upon taking office last year, Xi has adopted a more relaxed style than his various predecessors, who adhered to the rigid, dour Communist image.
Departing form the façade of austerity that party propaganda imposes on officials, Xi has given a more personal touch to the presidency - with a help from his celebrity wife Peng Liyuan.
Peng, a 50-year-old folk singer hugely popular in China, has accompanied her husband on numerous overseas trips, breaking with the Communist party's tradition of first ladies standing quietly behind their husbands.
Pictures of the couple stepping off a plane arm in arm in Moscow went viral on Chinese microblogging sites earlier this year and analyst said Xi is using her to build soft power home and abroad. It is not known if Peng has appreciated Xi's latest quip.