A Chinese microblog dedicated to Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has gone viral, attracting over 620,000 followers since its establishment on Nov. 21 last year. The Chinese name of the Sina Weibo account is a play on Xi’s name, and can either be read as the “Learning Fan Club” or the “Learning From Xi Fan Club.”
The microblog’s posts fall broadly into three categories: First, live updates on Xi’s trips around China, with a focus on his visits to Guangdong and Gansu provinces last December. Second, photos of Xi’s family life, photos of him working and making inspections, and close-up snapshots. Third, Party and media reports on Xi.
Xi is referred to in the blog as “Xi Dada,” which means uncle in the northeastern Chinese dialect. Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan is referred to as “Peng Mama.” In addition, the site publishes updates on Xi much sooner than even the websites of China’s state-controlled media, including Xinhua.
Many Chinese have speculated that the blog was created by Xi’s own public relations team to create a down-to-earth image of the new communist ruler. However, the microblog’s owner has claimed that he is merely an ordinary Chinese citizen.
Some Weibo users have begun circulating news that a Weibo user by the name @paleylin has been held incommunicado for over 24 hours ever since she ridiculed the “study Xi fan group” on Weibo.
The “Learning From Xi Fan Club” recently published a photo of Xi dressed in a black suit sitting on a couch beside a foreign country’s flag. It appears that the photo was taken during one of Xi’s overseas trips.
The photo has drawn interest because of Xi’s facial expression. In the photograph, Xi stares at the camera out of the corner of his eye with a wry smile on his face, as though being good-humored with the cameraman. Because of this, some netizens have speculated that the blog owner might be Xi’s bodyguard or a close aide.
The informal-looking photo, which would normally never have been published by official Chinese media, went viral online. One netizen commented, “I am very surprised that such a photo could be published!” Another said, “If this is an unedited photo, it must be an exclusive. Xinhua would not dare to publish a photo like that! The blog owner must be someone special.”
One netizen said, “His expression looks exactly like that internet-famous Little Fatty. For anyone to dare to take such a photo and publish it, there’s no doubt that the blog owner has to be Xi’s own daughter.” “Little Fatty” refers to the image of an overweight Chinese boy which became an internet sensation in China after his face, with its suspicious sideways glance, was superimposed onto various photographs by Chinese netizens.
The gender of the blog owner is listed as female on Sina, but during an interview with a Shanghai newspaper, the blog owner claimed to be a male born in the 1980’s who attended the Xian University of Electronic Science and Technology.
The owner also said, “I am not a Chinese Communist Party member, nor am I an official. I am a regular office clerk. Obama, Putin, Leung Chun-ying and Ma Ying-jeou all have fan clubs, so I too have the right to make a Xi Jinping fan club.”
Read the original Chinese article.
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