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Mayors go for Mandarin

With the London’s mayoral election looking tight, the two main candidates have both opened Sina Weibo accounts to try to connect with the city’s sizeable Chinese community.

The current mayor, Boris Johnson was the first to get in on the act opening his account on April 12. But his habit of simply reposting English messages from his Twitter account grated with many.

One weibo user summed up the general mood when he wrote, “Go home if you can’t write in Chinese”.

Similar criticism has been levelled at Ken Livingstone, the challenger, who joined weibo on April 22, although at least he was astute enough to post one of his first messages in Chinese.

But if either men want a lesson in how to do it right then they should take a look at the new weibo page of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

A Mandarin-speaker, one of Rudd’s first posts was a confessional about how many Chinese characters he had forgotten. Other personal and self-deprecating comments have already gained Rudd more than 130,000 followers and counting.


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