By Erik Crouch
Photo via Learning from Xi Fanclub
The “Learning from Xi Fanclub” weibo account has attracted a lot of attention over the past several months. Shanghaiist covered the account in December, when its constant, cheery, and detailed-filled posts about Xi Jinping’s daily activities fueled speculation that the account was run by someone in Xi’s inner circle. Instead, according to an Associated Press report, the blog is run by a Sichuan-born college drop-out named Zhang Hongming.
The AP reports:
“Our leaders used to appear to be out of reach for the masses. They always appeared to be mysterious. Now the public can feel closer to their leader with timely and transparent information,” Zhang said. “Xi is a national leader, but take his official title away, he’s an ordinary person.”
[…]Zhang said he often visits foreign sites and came to realize that many foreign leaders have online followings. “We didn’t have one for Xi, and I felt like I could do that. After all, I am filled with expectations that our new leader will be affable,”
[…]Zhang said he has no idea if Xi approves of the fan club. “But so far, no government worker or police has come after me,” Zhang said. “That tells us they are getting more open, a sign the leadership is more open.”
It looks like Zhang will continue posting to the account until the government gets angry or he gets a girlfriend. In the meantime, we can continue to enjoy picking through the propaganda-esque “everything is great!” posts and looking for awkward teenage images like this one: