Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chinese users occupy President Obama's Google+ page

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Summary: Chinese users have taken to flooding President Barack Obama’s Google+ page with requests for aid, thoughts on current events, and flattery.

Apparently taking advantage of loosening security in the country’s comprehensive Great Firewall of censorship, Chinese citizens have flocked to President Barack Obama’s Google+ page to leave a veritable flood of comments, most flattering.

It’s not exactly clear why or when the Chinese government opened Google+ to citizens, or why these new users have chosen President Obama’s official reelection campaign page as their rallying point. But the comments come in waves, and most posts to the page quickly hit the maximum limit of 500 comments. And as you may expect, most of these comments have been left under what appear to be pseudonyms.

English-language website ChinaSMACK translated several of the comments, but due to high traffic, the site’s availability has been sporadic. Fortunately, the Washington Post rounded up several of the most representative comments left by Chinese users:

“Dear President Obama, when will you send troops to liberate China?”
“Mr. President, we long for America’s freedom.”
“Hello Mr. President, I am Chinese. I hope that when you are dealing with the Chinese government that you won’t only focus on economic interests. The people here also need freedom and democracy. We need a free internet and a safeguarded life that is not too hard. Hope you can do your best to help us, thank you.”
“Obama, you do not contribute to world peace, but earlier get the Nobel peace prize, do not you feel ridiculous?”

As you can see, the comments range from fawning to mischievous to thoughtful. More than a few ask for a Green Card or American citizenship. And, of course, there are a few Americans who resent these Chinese users posting in their native language as opposed to English - or who simply use it as an opportunity for sarcasm.
The Chinese news media has been tracking these Google+ occupiers, and it doesn’t appear that the flood is going to level off any time soon. Facebook may have more of the social networking market than Google+, but apparently China sees a lot of value in the platform as a means of communication with the world outside the Great Firewall.


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