Xi Jinping surprises with reference to Malaysian singer Fish Leong
President Xi Jinping's remarks about Malaysian singer Fish Leong while in Kuala Lumpur has set the internet buzzing back home - especially after the Mando-pop star offered Xi praise of her own.
In a speech for the Chinese community in the Malaysian capital, Xi said: "Malaysian singer Fish Leong is well known in China and is thought by many Chinese fans to be Chinese."
The president's surprising pop culture reference drew a flurry of discussion on the internet on Friday. Later that night, Leong publicly thanked the president, whom she referred to as "national leader".
"Thank you for the compliment and recognition, national leader Mr Xi," the Malaysian-born singer wrote on Sina Weibo. "I will go on bringing a few more good songs to everyone in my singing career."
Internet users' surprise confirmed widespread confusion about Leong's nationality. Leong, 35, started her career in Taiwan and is known for her love ballads.
"I have always thought she was Chinese," one internet user wrote. "Our president has really surprised us here."
Another joked: "Shall we expect Leong's next album to be full of 'red songs' and come with a red cover?"
Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan, is a famous People's Liberation Army singer. During his speech in Kuala Lumpur, Xi named Redang Island and frozen durian as Malaysian things the Chinese were also familiar with.