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Chinese Premier Wows on Facebook May 28, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
Tags: , , ,

It helps when you’re the leader of 1.3 billion people and you put your popularity on the line online. Flush from the accolades for his sympathetic response to the Sichuan earthquake, Chinese leader Wen Jiabao has gone Web 2.0 with a profile on Facebook.

You can be friends with Grandpa Wen, the moniker for China’s 66-year-old premier who has always cultivated a populist image unlike many of the Communist Party’s aloof leaders. And with 15,000 Facebook ‘supporters’ as of this writing, he’s more popular than US President Bush on the social networking site.

As the face of China’s grief, Wen’s knack for looking sympathetic has won him supporters offline. Hours after the quake hit Sichuan province, he was on the scene with a bullhorn. TV cameras followed him for days as he tried to comfort children and put on a hard hat to enter a collapsed building.

Wen Jiabao at ground zero in Sichuan

Full of laudatory comments, the Facebook page was set up two days after the 12 May quake. It has photos of Wen walking through the rubble, comforting victims and breathless posts such as: ‘I love you, oh my God,’ ‘A model Premier for the world!’ and “Go Grandpa Wen! Go China!”

The profile creator had uploaded a mournful “We Are The World” – style music video that interspersed horrific images of the quake’s aftermath with shots of musicians wearing white T-shirts with “5-12” printed on them.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

Facebook lets users create personal profiles. The page appears to have been set up recently though it’s not clear whether it’s the work of Wen himself, a government official or someone with no ties to the premier. The page bears the official government photo of Wen in a gray suit.

The Chinese leader is one of hundreds of politicians on Facebook. He joins Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and every major US presidential hopeful who have Facebook pages. The site has a section where users can ‘Browse All Politicians’ and see them ranked by their number of ‘supporters.’



1. arthur - July 9, 2008

Good job! Way to go, Grandpa Wen!

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