The Chinese Ministry of National Defense has approved the resignation of Yang Yujun, director of the ministry's news bureau, and has appointed the bureau's deputy director Wu Qian as his replacement, the ministry announced on its website Thursday.
Yang is the first defense ministry spokesperson to resign voluntarily. And since he has decided to "independently choose his profession," he will no longer continue his military career.
"I love my army uniform and my military information career. I have dedicated myself to it throughout my military career. However, now my family needs more of my presence. It is not an easy choice for me, and it was hard to take care of my family and the career fully at the same time. Finally I decided that it is time to give more of myself to my family," Yang told the Global Times.
Yang said his resignation is related to his family's well-being.
Yang is the third ministry-level spokesperson to resign and leave the government system, following Sun Jungong, spokesperson of the Supreme People's Court, and Shen Danyang, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce.
Involved in news
Yang was showered with applause by reporters on April 27, after he apologized for using a wrong picture on the ministry's WeChat public account. It was the first time the ministry had made such a public apology and was the last time Yang hosted such an event.
Joining the army was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to him, a childhood dream that came true, Yang said.
In his 24-year military career, Yang served as a staff officer, section chief, director of the policy research office, the deputy, and later the head, of the news affairs bureau of the Ministry of National Defense in quick succession.
Yang displayed outstanding talents and ideas in each different position, and he was the youngest bureau-level official appointed in the ministry.
Many people have wondered what led the young and successful spokesperson to withdraw from his promising career, with some guessing that it could be related to the ongoing military reform.
Some argued spokespersons leave when they are facing problems from both the public and the government.
Yang said that as a news spokesperson, he is "in charge of releasing news" rather than becoming "involved in the news."
"In recent years, my parents, wife and my child have been hugely supportive to my career. And I increasingly feel I have done too little for my family, I owe them so much. Now it is time to provide them with more of my care and company," Yang remarked.
Yang denies all the public speculation, saying his resignation the result of his personal choice.
"I filed the application in January, and it was approved only recently after the necessary review procedures," he said.
Treating media kindly
Yang still clearly remembers his first press conference as spokesperson, and the most striking impression is that "it was really hot. It might have been due to the scorching spotlight or it was just the tough questions from the reporters."
No matter whether his choice receives praise or criticism, it shows the public's rising interest about Chinese national defense, Yang said, adding that "ignorance and being aloof is the most scary thing."
When asked if he is going to step into the business world or teach at a college, Yang said that he has not given his next step a lot of thought, but the welfare of his family will be a major factor when he makes his next career choice.
Considering his passion for public welfare, Yang told the Global Times that he might get involved in the field if he has the chance.
Usually military officers are given civil service jobs of similar rank after they resign from their posts, but they can seek their own employment if they choose, as Yang has done.
The spokesperson mechanism is not about any single individual, but a collective group, backed by the whole army. And in the past decade, China's military information release has made huge progress, undergone ups and downs, and formed its unique style with Chinese army characteristics, he said.
Yang said the characteristics include an "open transparent attitude, and treating the media kindly."