Zhang Hungming, ‘Learning from Xi Fanclub’.
A mere two days after he revealed his identity online, Zhang Hungming, the blogger behind the remarkably well informed ‘Learning from Xi Fanclub’, has announced his resignation from stalking the CPC general secretary.
Zhang, who has more than 800,000 followers, wrote: “Goodbye. I was happy when I came here, but I’m leaving today with deep feelings … Thanks to all the fans [of Xi], perhaps there is no room for us due to limited public understanding, or perhaps there is no room for us in the real world.
“I feel remorse and regret for disturbing them due to the existence of the Fan Club of Learning From Xi.” He did not explain who he meant by “them”.
Netizens speculated that Zhang’s efforts in making Xi Jinping “more accessible to the public” might have angered the propaganda department, which isn’t generally a big fan of transparency.
One popular internet commentator wrote: “Obviously he was not silenced, but rather was advised to quit. Perhaps only he himself knows where the pressure came from.”
Culture critic Zhu Qi saw it differently. “The microblog was a rather worrisome phenomenon, for it represents a new model of worship for individual leaders making use of the internet.”
Since Mao’s own cult of personality consumed the country and led to the madness of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese leaders have typically downplayed their public personas. This approach was exemplified by Hu Jintao, who managed to make it seem like he had no personality whatsoever.