Xi's mystery fan blog may be sign of new Chinese leadership

China Featured - February 6th, 2013
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A mysterious Weibo account posting musings and photographs of China’s president-in-waiting has given a rare glimpse on the everyday life of the country’s top leader in contrast to the stoic facade his predecessors have put on.

The Study Xi Fans Group took to the Chinese version of Twitter to update citizens on Xi Jinping’s day-to-day activities with photographs accompanied with lively messages. Some pictures are taken in an aircraft, others at Mr. Xi’s elbow at formal receptions and all are taken at suspiciously close quarters – it seems highly improbable for a single fan to capture every moment.

There are speculations that a bodyguard or even a very senior aide to Mr. Xi is behind the account and was authorized to reveal selected snippets of the presidential day, while others are convinced that Mr. Xi put up a team of close aides to do exactly just that, says The Times of London.

Still, it sends a deliberate message on Mr. Xi’s leadership style in a radical shift from the traditional formality of China’s top leaders in engaging with the public. Mr. Xi has also showed interest in public debates in Weibo which persists despite the strict censorship in the social media site.

The blogger dispelled speculations even as the follower count soared on Wednesday, gaining 10,000 additional hits every half hour. “I am just a commoner. I am not a Communist Party member. I have nothing to do with Xi Jinping’s team,” a post said.

Zhang Zhian, a journalism professor from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong, told Chinese media: “I don’t think it is run by a common netizen, especially because of the recent picture of Xi Jinping’s office. If you look at the angle, it’s really close. The blogger said he found all the pictures on the internet, but have you ever seen the Xinhua News Agency or People’s Daily publish these photos?”