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Welcome to Sina Weibo, Stephen Hawking!

Following David Cameron, Tim Cook and many other prominent international figures, scientist genius Stephen Hawking has now made his entrance on China’s social media platform Sina Weibo.

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Following David Cameron, Tim Cook and many other prominent international figures, scientist genius Stephen Hawking has now made his entrance on China’s social media platform Sina Weibo.

On April 12, Beijing time 10:12, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking published his first post on China’s biggest social media platform Sina Weibo in both English and Chinese. In his debut post, Hawking announces his appearance on Weibo, recalls his two previous travels to China, and expresses his wish to continue communication with his “friends in China”.

Hawking’s first Weibo post soon attracted hundreds of thousands of re-posts and comments. Hawking’s official account, @史蒂芬·霍金_StephenHawking, is jointly run by Hawking’s own team and social media company Stradella Road. It has attracted almost 1 million followers so far. All messages with the inscription SH are authentic from Hawking himself.

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Weibo users give the scientist a warm welcome, with many people expressing their exhilaration to have one of the world’s most prominent scientists on Chinese social media, saying that he “will bring up the average IQ of Weibo users”.

Some people show that they are familiar with Hawking’s works, and express their appreciation for his contribution to science. But also for those who are not that familiar with Hawking’s theories, he is still a model figure. Many refer to him as a “God-like figure”, and address him with the Chinese pronoun Nin (您, similar to French vous) instead of Ni (你, similar to French tu) to show their respect. One netizen remarks that Hawking is the most cited figure in his school essays.

Hawking is not the first world celebrity to appear on Sina Weibo. Many famous political figures from the international community preceded him. The first foreign politician to open a Weibo account was the Chinese-American major Huang Jinbo (@黄锦波), who set up his Weibo account on March 31, 2009. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Michael Rudd (@陆克文先生) is amongst the most active foreign Weibo politicians. Fluent in Chinese and with one daughter settling in Beijing, Kevin gives regular updates in Chinese. Most of his posts are about his connection to China. As for UK prime minister David Cameron (@英国首相); his Weibo account was opened on occasion of his state visit to China in 2013, and has somehow become a platform for Sherlock fans to nudge for new episodes. Former President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy (@欧盟欧洲理事会主席) posts about EU-China relations and other work-related information on Weibo.

yingguo David Cameron wishing his followers a Happy Chinese New Year on Sina Weibo.

Besides more and more famous international politicians getting online through Sina Weibo, a growing number of other world celebrities are now also engaging with China’s social media. Amongst them are big business names like Bill Gates (@billgates) and Tim Cook (@ TimCook), prominent sports figures including Maria Sharapova (@ MariaSharapova) and Andy Murray (@ AndyMurray安迪穆雷), as well as famous showbiz figures such as Hugh Jackman (@ HughJackman) and Tom Cruise (@ officialtomcruise). Not to mention many Asian actors, actresses and singers who also have a Chinese fanbase (for example Japanese AV actress @ 苍井空 and Thai young actor and singer @ Psy_小P).

For foreign politicians and international celebrities, China and the Chinese public is becoming increasingly relevant. Politicians engage with Chinese social media as a type of public diplomacy, striving for a better public image of the countries they represent. For businessmen, sportsmen and movie figures, Weibo is a new platform for public relations to promote themselves and their businesses to a huge Chinese market. Whether it is for the sake of diplomacy, marketing purposes, or for boosting personal careers – international famous people have found their way to Weibo.

Hawking’s Weibo debut, however, seems to differ from that of his predecessors. The scientist has no specific country to represent, no apparent diplomatic purposes to fulfil, nor any explicit business intentions. As he said in his first post, he would like to share his life and his work with his audience, and learn from them through replies. To what extent Hawking’s Weibo account will actually stimulate intellectual exchanges remains to be seen, but his first steps on Weibo seem promising: China’s netizens have welcomed Hawking with open arms.

– By Diandian Guo

Read more about foreign politicians on Sina Weibo: http://news.sina.com.cn/w/2013-12-08/144828917509.shtml

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

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China Celebs

Angelababy, Huang Xiaoming, Li Fei’er: Love Triangle Rumors From Decade Ago Revisited

Weibo explodes after Angelababy addresses rumors that have been going on for over ten years.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Beijing time, Weibo exploded when Chinese celebrity couple Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy addressed some strong rumors about the start of their relationship.

Their posts resulted in various hashtags and search terms going viral, including the phrases “When Angelababy Met Huang Xiaoming, He Said He Was Single” and “Angelababy Was Not My Mistress.” At least three out of today’s top trending Weibo topics are related to Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming.

Angelababy (nickname for Yang Ying 杨颖) is practically a household name in China. The famous actress and model married actor Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) in 2015, and ever since, their marriage and relationship status is a popular gossip topic on social media. The two have a son together.

With Angelababy having over 100 million fans on her Weibo page (@angelababy) and Huang Xiaoming having over 61 million followers on his (@黄晓明), the two are practically Weibo’s most followed couple. Their $31 million wedding is probably the most-discussed Chinese weddings of the past decade.

Chinese actress Li Fei’er (李菲儿) previously dated Huang Xiaoming after working with him in the 2008 television series Royal Tramp (鹿鼎记). The two are said to have started a relationship in 2007, and to have broken up in 2010 – the same year when Huang got together with Angelababy. The ending of the relationship with Li and the start of the new love affair with Angelababy has been a source of gossip for over a decade.

In a 2011 interview with a Hong Kong magazine, Li had hinted that Angelababy was previously ‘the other woman’ during her relationship with Huang.

The rumors surrounding that alleged love triangle between Angelababy, Li, and Huang reached a new peak this week when Huang Xiaoming and Li Fei’er shared a stage on the super popular reality series Sisters Who Make Waves 2, which features 30 female celebrities over the age of 30. Huang hosts the show.

Apparently, Angelababy felt that the waves of rumors became too strong for her not to speak out. In the late afternoon of January 6, she posted a Weibo post in which she stated that Huang Xiaoming told her he was single when they first met. When Li made ‘groundless’ comments about Angelababy in a magazine interview, she asked Huang about it, and “he told me they had broken up.”

“A decade has passed by. Today, I’ve chosen to stand up for myself and to explain the entire thing clearly. I don’t want to take the blame anymore,” Angelababy writes.

She also added that she felt this is “a matter between Mister Huang and Li Fei’er,” suggesting that Huang is the person who needs to clarify the matter to the public.

Angelababy’s post was followed up by a post by Huang just an hour later, in which he stated the success of the Sister Who Make Waves tv show lies in the values it conveys to respect women, suggesting that the recent flood of rumors is harmful to the show’s central theme, the women participating in it, as well as to his own family.

He further clarifies that Angelababy “was not a mistress,” refuting ongoing rumors about the start of their relationship.

The huge attention for this matter seemed to temporarily put a strain on Weibo’s servers, with the site momentarily showing a notification that its servers were too busy. In 2017, Weibo servers could no longer handle the peak in traffic after Chinese singer ad actor Lu Han announced his new relationship.

Weibo servers were busy after Angelababy posted about the decade-old ‘love triangle’ rumors.

For now, the statements by Angelababy and Huang have only brought about more speculation. The fact that Angelababy refers to her husband as “Mr. Huang” in her post intensifies ongoing rumors that Huang and Angelababy might already be separated.

Meanwhile, Li Fei’er, who has over 11 million followers on her Weibo page (@李菲儿love) has not posted anything about the recent developments. In her last post on January 1st, she wished her followers a happy new year.

By Wednesday night, Beijing time, Angelababy’s post had received over 1,3 million likes and 100,000 comments; Huang’s post got over 850,000 likes, already making this celebrity news one of the most talked-about topics this week.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Celebs

What’s on Weibo Podcast #4: Horse Prince, Ambassador, Money Maker – Ding Zhen is China’s 2020 Viral Hit

The rise of Ding Zhen: it started with one Douyin clip and triggered a social media storm.

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His name is Tenzin, now known as Ding Zhen, and this Khampa Tibetan young man is China’s online sensation of the year. Within a matter of days, the 20-year-old from Litang has taken Chinese social media by storm.

In this latest What’s on Weibo podcast, we explain Ding Zhen’s fame from the very beginning, showing how one video clip snowballed into something much bigger than Ding Zhen alone.

Listen to our latest podcast here!

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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