Mysterious Xi blogger comes out: He's a migrant worker who dropped out of college
BEIJING (AP) - For weeks, a mysterious microblog has been lifting a veil from around China's new leader Xi Jinping with candid snapshots from his travels that defy the typically stiff and staged images of the leadership presented in state media.
Ordinary Chinese, foreign reporters and even China's own state media have speculated over who or what might be behind the blog - ostensibly registered to a female tech school graduate. Is Mr Xi's own team surreptitiously trying to humanise the leader in the guise of citizen journalism? Is this a crusader's attempt to bring China's leaders down a notch and send them a message?
It turns out it's the brainchild of a male college dropout and migrant worker, Mr Zhang Hongming, who told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that he is both a genuine fan of China's new leader and intent on making him more accessible to the country's people.
"It is just me. It's completely an individual act," said Mr Zhang, who started the "Fan Club of Learning From Xi" on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Nov. 21 with a simple thought: Like other foreign leaders in these times, Chinese leaders should have an online following.