The Chinese President Took Over The Internet On His Birthday

Every day Weibo is filled with birthday wishes for pop stars and celebrities. On Monday, it was Xi Jinping's turn.

China's President Xi Jinping kept a low profile during his 62nd birthday on Monday. The internet, however, wasn't as quiet. On Weibo, the hashtag "Xi Dada Happy Birthday 6.15" trended throughout the day.

Weibo / Via

"Xi Dada" refers to Uncle Xi, the president's widely used nickname. It's even used by state media sometimes.

习大大!生日快乐🎂Happy birthday to our lovely and handsome leader ,our uncle Xi

His fan group has almost 3 million followers on Weibo.

Weibo / Via

And their way to bring him to ~the top of the world~ is to make memes of him....

"Did I just hear somebody calling me handsome?" reads the caption to this picture.

Weibo / Via

"Xi Dada was once also a good-looking young man," says this one.

Weibo / Via

And this one says, "Mengmengda Xi Dada." Mengmengda means "very cute" in Chinese internet slang. The second caption says, "Photographer, you are so doomed to be fired [for making him look like this]."

Weibo / Via

It had long been taboo to depict Chinese leaders in cartoons — until last year, when a cartoon of Xi went viral. It showed him in a positive light, so those now seem to be allowed.

Many Weibo users posted pictures of Xi and his popular wife, Peng Liyuan. The caption to this photo says, "The only couple who can show off love on CCTV News."

Weibo / Via

China's first lady Peng Liyuan is a well-known contemporary Chinese folk song singer who is considered to be a new source of China's soft power for her glamorous international appearances.

This says, "Xi Dada loves Peng Mama." Xi and Peng are idolized as THE perfect couple on China's social media.

Weibo / Via

The caption was adopted from a hit internet song of the same name, which quickly got over 100 million views shortly after the composers, four young musicians from Henan province, released it on video sites at the end of last year.

View this video on YouTube

The song basically talks about how brave it is of Xi to fight corruption cases because he has Peng's support. The New York Times translated the full lyrics.

Here's Xi fighting against the big corrupted "tigers," as top officials are known.

Weibo / Via

Some hoped Xi would bring good luck, and that the Shanghai Composite Index would reach the high point representing the date of Xi's birthday: (19)5306.15.

继粉红小清新后,天朝又崛起股民万岁党:“神预言:6月15日:上证综指收报 5306.15点;寓意:习大大生日:1953.06.15;彭麻麻生日是1962年11月20日。寓意:6211.2点。上证历史高点6124点必破!【神意】国泰君安下周上市,替大大庆生,寓意:国泰,君安!”

China's economy slowed considerably, but its stock market rocketed to over $10 trillion for the first time on Friday.

And quite a few users saluted the president by using the phrase "Ten thousand years," an expression used in particular to wish long life to the ancient Chinese emperor.

Weibo / Via

China's media is under strict censorship by the authorities, who quickly remove from internet searches and social media keywords they don't favor or consider to be "sensitive."


"According to laws and policies, the results for 'Jiang Zemin' aren't shown." Jiang is a former president of China.

And a huge number of internet commenters are reported to be hired by the Chinese government to influence public opinion. They are called the 50 Cent Party, because they are said to be paid 50 cents RMB (= $0.08) for each post.


Some critics worry that a cult of personality is being formed around Xi. Such a degree of attention on a national leader hasn't been seen since the era of Mao Zedong.

Andy Wong / AP

In this picture, a street vendor displays a souvenir with pictures of Xi and Mao to visitors at Tiananmen Square.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.