Weibo shuts down popular 'first lady fan club' | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 27, 2015
  • Updated: 8:00am

Peng Liyuan

Peng Liyuan is a popular Chinese folk music and opera singer and the wife of Chinese president, Xi Jinping. A native of Yuncheng County, Shandong, Peng was a finalist at the First National TV Chinese Vocal Contest and is best known for works including People from Our Village and On the Plains of Hope.


Weibo shuts down popular 'first lady fan club'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 5:31am

Excitement about first lady Peng Liyuan is continuing to spread on mainland microblogging platforms, but one site devoted to her was suddenly shut down on Tuesday afternoon.

The disappointed microblog owner of the " Guo Mu [national mother] Fan Club", Wang Jian , said the decision was "undemocratic".

People trying to access the microblog were met with the message: "Sorry, the account you are visiting is abnormal and cannot be accessed temporarily."

Wang, a 28-year-old MBA student at Xiamen University, said he had not received any notice before the microblog was shut down.

He changed the name of his microblog account on Friday, the day that President Xi Jinping and his wife began their first overseas trip.

"There's nothing sensitive [on the site]," Wang said. "If it is because of the name Guo Mu, they should have let me know before suspending my account because there's no specific rule against it."

The Sina Weibo microblog's title was changed to a string of numbers on Tuesday afternoon, indicating that the user was required to change it, and Wang promptly reinstated the name "Guo Mu Fan Club".

Before it was shut down, one of the posts was forwarded by the Learn From Xi Fan Club, a microblog devoted to the president. Wang said that sparked a dramatic increase in the number of people following his website - "several hundreds within two minutes".

Wang said that might have led to his problems. He complained to Sina Weibo on Tuesday afternoon and was told he would receive a reply within two days.

Wang said he spent much of his spare time working on the fan site, which featured old photos of Peng, videos of the military soprano's performances, and photos of Xi and Peng together. "Sometimes I stayed up until 4am," Wang said.

The microblog had attracted more than 5,600 followers before it was suspended, up from fewer than 1,000 on Friday.

Other similar microblogs, including the Liyuan Fan Club, Xuexileyuan (Learn from Happy Yuan) and Xuexiaiyuan (Learn from Xi Love Yuan) have not been blocked.

Wang said he was inspired by the Learn from Xi Fan Club - which, with nearly 130,000 followers, was the most popular microblog devoted to a top leader - and was trying to draw ordinary people closer to politics.

Meanwhile, two photos doctored to show Xi carrying Peng's handbag have been widely circulated online. The original photos were taken when the couple arrived in Moscow on Friday and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Sunday.

The photos were a sensation on mainland social media and earned Xi a new nickname: "the best husband in China". One microblogger described him as "the model of a Chinese man".

It is increasingly common to see men in mainland cities carrying the handbags of their girlfriends or wives - something the mainland media has described as an interesting change in a male-dominated society and also an expression of affection.

Peng, who often performed at state galas, was more famous than her husband until 2007, when Xi was made a member of the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee. He became vice-president and heir apparent to then president Hu Jintao the following year.



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