By Erik Crouch
“Learning from Xi” weibo header
With insider photos and an apparently intimate knowledge of the new Party Leader’s travel plans, the
Weibo account “Learning from Xi Fan Club” is either run by someone in Xi Jinping’s inner circle or by a supremely dedicated netizen.
The fan site has consistently been a few steps ahead of the official media, posting details about the leader’s recent trips across China before they were formally released by China’s state news sources. The poster also has uncanny access to rare photographs from Xi’s youth and a knowledge of his favorite mottoes and sports.
In an anonymous interview, the blog’s founder said that he is “simply an ordinary “grass-roots person” and not a member of Xi’s publicity or media team. “I’m a fan of the party secretary,” he said. “I like him and support him.”
More realistically, the “Learning from Xi Fan Club” account is an example of the Party’s propaganda workshop finally getting its act together as far as social media is concerned. The account has more than 50,000 followers, posts intimate (but always complimentary) insider details of Xi’s life, and has yet to be censored.
While a normal Weibo user can’t get away with posting Xi meeting Obama or Wen Jiabao riding a bicycle, the “Xi Fan Club” has uploaded dozens of photos from throughout Xi’s life without an issue.
If it is propaganda (very likely) then this is a new step for the CCP. Conventional government loudspeakers like the People’s Daily may soon become obsolete, to be replace by pink-themed fun blogs who lovingly refer to the country’s leader as “Pingping”.