Shame on you, facebook-crawling netizen. Shame!

The China Digital Times has picked up on a little story which caught my eye, given that it relates to my old university. Bo Guagua, the son of Bo Xilai (a high-ranking party official), studies at Oxford and has scooped a spot in 2009’s top ten “outstanding” young Chinese in Britain: the curiously named Big Ben award. Read CDT’s posts here and here (they’re blocked in China if you never got that proxy for Christmas).

Now I’m as much a fan of CDT as the next China-watcher who wants 17 unread RSS items a day reminding him of how much CDT’s editors hate China’s government. But I thought it was a little unfair to portray Bo Guagua – in my eyes – as an undeserving playboy, through publishing a handful of (obviously facebook) pictures of him in that first link (see below) with no more in prelude than “while a series of photos of Bo the younger have become hot items in the Chinese blogosphere”. (In which case, by the way, I’d love to see this topic on chinaSMACK…)

I know CDT is only passing on the internet word here: I’m not criticising them but the online trend of hand-picking facebook pictures to ‘represent’ a life. It’s lazy. It’s not representative (of course facebook pictures are party pictures! how many photos of yourself studying alone in your room have you put on the internet?!). Most of all, it’s pissing young people off. And we may be deciding the rate of your pension scheme one day.

There is a lot of discussion going on these days as to whether netizens (be it bloggers, tweeters or BBS-ers) can fill the ever growing journalism gap as more and more papers will fold. I sincerely hope they can. Well, one way to win over the disbelievers is for no netizen to be so sloppy as to use facebook pictures like that.

And for the record: I believe it’s clear from his accomplishments listed the second CDT link I gave that Bo Guagua deserved this award. I didn’t know him at Oxford, but I emailed a friend who did. He replied:

From what I knew of him , he was very hard working, loyal to his friends, and – to your question – absolutely entrepreneurial enough to win such an award. I agree with you – the photos do him a disservice. We’re going to see more of this misuse of facebook photos in years to come as we, the first facebook generation, grow up and step into the real world. I don’t think people have fully thought through the consequences.

Too true. Well *yawn* it’s late, I’m off to … bed. That’s right, bed. I won’t be hurriedly deleting any of my old facebook pictures at all. Comfy bed.


Along with the great honour, the material award for winning the prestigious Big Ben award is a couple of brunettes in lipstick

Note: If you can’t see some of the above pictures, it’s because they’re on Flickr, which has just been blocked in China.


  1. Bo Xilai is not a dog,he is god,hehe,he is very funny

  2. Is can’t be the reason why facebook has been banned in China, can it?

  3. maybe he is powerful now, but he cant stay longer for sure

  4. All infomation of him in China netizens is negative. Most netizens hate the rich and high-ranking officials, Bo Xilai is a dog.

  5. it’s just a party, isn’t it?

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