Foreign leaders befriend Chinese public online

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-4-10 22:16:17

World political leaders have turned to Chinese social media to maintain a friendlier relationship with the country's citizens.

Visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres updated his Weibo daily starting on Tuesday when he arrived in Beijing for a visit. Peres posted pictures and chatted on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, China's most popular social network.

He briefed followers on his activities, such as meeting Chinese leaders and taking media interviews, and wrote in Chinese to invite netizens to ask him questions.

Peres is one of many world leaders to join Weibo.

British Prime Minister David Cameron registered a Weibo account before his three-day visit last year, attracting millions of followers who asked funny questions on his account page.

At the end of his visit, Cameron even posted a clip in which he answered questions from online users, including questions about popular British drama "Sherlock" and British visa applications.

According to Internet firm Sina, some 200 world leaders have joined, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-general of the United Nations.

Leaders are interacting with Chinese netizens in hopes of generating closer ties with the common people.

Public diplomacy on social networks also presents politicians with an opportunity to build up the images of their own countries among the Chinese public.

China and Israel have maintained good relations since the two sides forged diplomatic ties in 1992.

Their relations entered a new high after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid an official visit to China last year.

President Peres is eyeing even better bilateral relations by attaching greater importance to public diplomacy.

In addition to world politicians, a spate of foreign embassies in China and international organizations have also set up accounts.

Sina said that some 300 international organizations have opened accounts, including the United Nations, which has 587,000 followers, and the International Olympic Committee, which has an astonishing 21 million followers.

Posted in: Politics

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