Ma Zhaoxu was born in September 1963 in Heilongjiang Province. He graduated from Peking University with a degree in international relations. In 1986, he participated in the inaugural Asian college students debating competition organized by the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) and won the "best debater" award, becoming well known to PRC college students at the time.
Ma joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1987 and served in various departments and embassies, including counselor at the PRC embassy in the United Kingdom from 2001 to 2002 and counselor at the PRC embassy in Belgium from 2002 to 2004. He was appointed deputy director of the Policy Planning Department in 2004 and director in 2006. In January 2009, he replaced Liu Jianchao as the director-general of the Information Department as well as the head spokesperson of the ministry.
Ma is married with one daughter.
Recently, there has been some controversy surrounding Ma Zhaoxu's statement “there are no dissidents in China”, while China responds disapprovingly to the Nobel prize having been awarded to incarcerated Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
- "Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao leaves post, successor was best debater 20 years ago" (in Chinese). China.org.cn. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "Debater becomes spokesman for Foreign Ministry". China Daily. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "Ma Zhaoxu succeeds as director of the Foreign Ministry's Information Department" (in Chinese). Xinhua. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "Ma Zhaoxu succeeds Liu Jianchao as director of the Foreign Ministry's Information Department" (in Chinese). People's Daily. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "New head of information department in China's Foreign Ministry". People's Daily. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- (Chinese) Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu's biography (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC).