Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping displayed his informal public style, greeting a woman in a crowd as "Hello beautiful!", causing a media flutter.
His comment surprised the media and officials who are used to the old style Communist stock phrase "Hello Comrade".
Known for his informality, 59-year-old Xi on a visit to Wuhan city yesterday greeted local woman Guo Tingting, saying "Hello beautiful!", catching the attention of China`s netizens, the Hong Kong media quoted `Chutian Metropolis Daily` as reporting.
"This is definitely better than calling women "comrades," a microblogger wrote.
Often used by communist party members when referring to fellow cadres, the word "comrade" has now taken on a more popular meaning in China - "homosexual", the report said.
Guo, who was apparently exhilarated after her good looks were acknowledged by the president, told her work mates "Who will dare not to call me beautiful after this?"
While most people seemed to appreciate the casual way Xi greeted Guo, some were critical.
"That sounded quite frivolous," one microblogger wrote.
"China needs a leader who can make meaningful exchanges," another said, "Not someone who speaks fancy words."
Unlike his predecessors who were known for stiff facial expressions, Xi, who emerged as the country`s most powerful leader holding the posts of President, Communist Party Chief and the head of the military, has adopted a more informal style including giving a prominent role to his celebrity wife, Peng Liyuan, who is a famous singer in China.