Liu Yandong - the official sent to Hong Kong on a charm offensive - has risen steadily through the party ranks since the perilous days of the Cultural Revolution, when she was criticised for being a successful student. There is more to Ms Liu - the party's top PR person and a woman dubbed the party's beauty - than sporting different outfits for various public functions and her ready smile. Ms Liu, 59, from Nantong city in Jiangsu province , joined the party in 1964. In the same year, the 19-year-old enrolled in Tsinghua University's engineering chemistry department as both a student and political assistant for six years until 1970. In her second year at Tsinghua, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, she was criticised because of her good grades. But the young Ms Liu resisted any sign of weakness. Instead she put up a large poster criticising Lin Biao , Mao Zedong's right-hand man. The daughter of Liu Ruilong , once a vice-minister of the Ministry of Agriculture who was jailed for five years for persecution during the Culture Revolution, Ms Liu knows the harshness of peasant life. Upon graduation, she began to work her way up. She was a worker, a technician and workshop head of the Tangshan Kaiping Chemical Plant in Hebei for two years after 1970. From 1972 to 1980, she shifted to the Beijing Experimental Chemical Plant, rising from a worker to become director of the plant's political department and the deputy secretary of the its Communist Party committee. At 35, her rise accelerated. In the 1980s, she was party secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee's organisation department, and later the executive-secretary of the China Central Committee's Secretariat of Communist Youth League and the president of the All-China Youth Federation. At 46, she leapt to deputy head of the United Front Work Department in 1991 and was promoted to head it two years ago. In the past few days, Ms Liu, who also has a doctorate from Jilin Univesity's school of administration, has demonstrated her PR professionalism, while her quick wit has left an impression on Hongkongers. Last year she was quoted as saying that most of those who demonstrated on July 1 against the national security bill were patriotic.