Call it executive privilege, call it hypocrisy, call it whatever you will, but just know that despite the ban on Facebook that exists in China, Chinese President Xi Jinping has a Facebook page. Created for the express purpose of documenting the leader’s historic visit to the United States, the community page is titled “Xi’s US Visit,” and has garnered well over 600,000 likes in the week since it’s been created. And it certainly seems as though the page operators are wasting no time in publishing content — apparently deprived of the joy and wonder that is Facebook posting, Xi’s page is remarkably inundated by photos, videos, and other updates in spite of its short lifetime. Unfortunately, no one back home can see it.
China, a country that boasts a population of over 1.3 billion people, about 600 million of whom have Internet access, banned Facebook access six years ago in 2009 following a series of riots in Xinjiang, and doesn’t appear to have any immediate plans to reverse this ruling. Regardless, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg seemed thrilled by his own meeting with Xi, which he documented on his own Facebook page. In a photo caption, Zuckerberg notes, “This is … part of President Xi’s state visit to the U.S., and you can follow updates from his visit on his Facebook page: Xi’s US Visit,” and adds, “On a personal note, this was the first time I’ve ever spoken with a world leader entirely in a foreign language. I consider that a meaningful personal milestone. It was an honor to meet President Xi and other leaders.”
Xi’s visit, which is making headlines both in the U.S. and overseas in his native China, comes at a time when tensions between the two countries are high, particularly when it comes to issues related to technology. China has long been accused of cyberattacks and espionage against the United States, and it is said that President Barack Obama and Xi are looking to establish some semblance of a cyber-peace treaty.
So enjoy Xi’s Facebook page while you can, folks. Just don’t expect to be able to share it with your friends in China.