Diplomatic micro blog seeks 'Wei-plomacy'

Updated: 2011-11-24 07:35

By An Baijie (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Diplomat Suehyun Charlotte Jung has her eyes on the goalpost: attracting more than 50,000 followers on her embassy's micro blog by the end of this year.

So far, their Weibo account has more than 47,000 followers.

Jung, a second secretary at the embassy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in China, believes the embassy's micro blog is the most efficient way to communicate with Chinese citizens.

"In the past, we seldom knew what the Chinese public thought because the diplomats usually deal with the government rather than the individuals," Jung said.

"Weibo is playing a so important role in the bilateral relationship that we call it 'Wei-plomacy' nowadays."

The ROK embassy's micro blog, launched on Oct 3 at Sina.com, is maintained by a six-member team headed by Park Joon-yong, a political minister-counselor of the embassy.

They meet at least once each week to discuss what to publicize on the micro blog.

"We usually publish three to five entries of Weibo every day, and we would feel excited whenever we found that our micro blogs were forwarded and commented by Chinese people," Jung said.

Not all of the comments were friendly, though.

"At the beginning, half of the comments were hostile, about 20 percent were neutral and 30 percent are friendly. The situation is getting better, though."

The embassy's Weibo on Oct 25 published the news that three Chinese fishing ships were detained by ROK marine police for alleged illegal fishing, which was commented on 25 times, with 17 of the comments critical or hostile toward the ROK.

Jung said it made her feel "quite sad and afraid" when she saw the hostile comments at the beginning, and she even doubted whether it was a wise move for the embassy to launch a micro blog that caused so much criticism and even curses.

"Fortunately, my work was supported and encouraged by the ambassador who often asked me how many new followers we have obtained in the Weibo," Jung said.

"When the ambassador meets with Chinese officials, they would like to talk about the micro blog very much."