Blogger not sitting pretty after boasts trigger web hunt

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 June, 2011, 12:00am


Many young people like to show off their materialistic side by uploading photographs of luxury items they've bought or the upmarket restaurants they've dined at to Weibo, the mainland's answer to microblogging website Twitter.

But Guo Meiling took her high-status boasting a touch too far when, in addition to picturing her collection of Hermes handbags, the Maserati convertible she claims to drive and the luxury villa which she says is her home, she described herself as general manager of the 'Red Cross Chamber of Commerce'.

Indignant Weibo users assumed Guo, who posted under the username Guo MeimeiBaby, was referring to the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the mainland branch of the international medical charity, which is reliant on public donations to cover its running costs.

Angry web users launched what has become known as a 'human flesh search' - in which information on an internet user is sought in the real world. A photograph was posted of Guo sitting on a plane with a man who web users suggested was Guo Changjiang, RCSC's executive vice-president.

Some web users suggested that they were father and daughter, according to Nanfang Daily, but the claim was dismissed by the RCSC official, who told the media on Wednesday he had neither a daughter nor a general manager of commerce.

In a subsequent Weibo entry, since deleted, Guo said she was not on the staff of the Red Cross, but with a company whose name was similar.

The media reported that the 20-year-old was a small-time actress from Hunan province , who the Southern Daily suspects might be seeking some career-boosting publicity with the help of shady online public relations companies.

That has not stopped internet vigilantes from digging deeper, with some speculating about Guo's true identity and linking the young woman to other high-ranking officials.

Most of her blog entries had been taken offline yesterday and the RCSC says it has informed police of the incident and is 'ready to defend its reputation under the law'.