Taiwan's president-elect, Ma Ying-jeou, made the cover of most of Guangdong's newspapers yesterday. After remaining quiet on the issue for the past week, the province's media suddenly devoted lengthy reports to the Kuomintang leader's victory, with front-page pictures and detailed maps showing how votes were cast in each county. The Southern Metropolis Daily, the best-selling Guangdong newspaper, dedicated five pages to Mr Ma's victory, while the New Express Daily in Guangzhou gave him four. Rather than offering any unique commentary, all the articles were sourced from the official Xinhua news agency and focused on Mr Ma's landslide victory, background and family, rather than touching on his political stance. The sudden media coverage stirred public interest in the polls, although few residents of Shenzhen or Guangzhou said they knew or understood Mr Ma's political views. 'Many mainlanders simply regard Ma Ying-jeou as their favourite without thinking twice,' said a participant on the popular mainland bulletin board Tianya. 'For mainland netizens, Mr Ma is regarded as a celebrity rather than a politician.' On Google China, pictures of Mr Ma's two daughters were listed as the most popular search items, together with his earlier public debate with Frank Hsieh Chang-ting. On the mainland's major internet bulletin boards, people hailed the opposition leader's victory as a fresh opportunity for cross-strait peace and prosperity. They said Mr Ma's promise of closer trade ties and direct air and tourism links could bring real benefits to both sides of the strait. But some criticised his earlier harsh verbal attack on Premier Wen Jiabao and his comment that he wouldn't rule out boycotting the Olympics if the situation in Tibet worsened. 'His words have badly hurt the mainland people's feelings,' said one netizen on Tianya.