Weibo Diplomacy: Embassies on China's Microblogs

By Guo Wei
Published: 2011-04-01

This week’s edition of Southern Weekly includes an interesting article about the presence of foreign embassies on China’s various microblog services.

Below we've translated a few brief extracts from the article and made two graphs based on the data collected by the Southern Weekly journalists.

According to Southern Weekly, the British Embassy was the first to open up an official embassy weibo account. Since then, the U.S., Japan, France and Denmark have all established official microblog accounts in order to improve their ability to directly communicate with Chinese internet users.

When talking to Chinese media on a previous occasion, Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa said "Why are relations between the people of Japan and China so poor? It's because most ordinary people in both countries have not communicated with their opposite numbers, ... now that communcation technology is so advanced, all that is required is the will to communicate."

This week at an official ceremony held at the Delegation of the European Union to China in Beijing, newly-appointed European Union Ambassador to China Markus Ederer officially launched the "EU in China" (欧盟在中国) blogs and microblogs.

The microblogs, which have been live for about a month now, were set up on all four of the major microblog platforms - those operated by Tencent QQ, Sohu, NetEase and Sina.

The EU’s Sina weibo account already has more than 15,000 followers or fans as they’re known in China.

U.S. Embassy The Most Popular
From last May, when the American Embassy first opened its Sina weibo account, until the time of writing this article, the emabssy has amassed over 65,000 followers and published about nice hunrded posts, averaging about two a day.

The graph below shows the kind of content that has been posted to the U.S. Embassy official Sina weibo account up until March 30 this year.

The most popular post so far was one about housing prices in America that was posted in early January this year and re-posted by almost 7,000 followers and attracted over 2,000 comments.

Links and Sources
Southern Weekly:
驻华使馆开微博:把外交做到中国人指尖 (Chinese)