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Chinese social media star Mimeng closes account with 14 million followers after cancer victim post

Online personality accused by state media of ‘manipulating public’ deletes WeChat account

Adam Forrest
Friday 22 February 2019 16:19 GMT
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WeChat is one of China's most popular platforms
WeChat is one of China's most popular platforms (Getty Images)

Mimeng, one of China’s most popular social media stars, has closed her public WeChat account which had millions of followers, after she was condemned by state media for sharing a story about a young cancer victim.

The online blogger – whose real name is Ma Ling – apologised at the beginning of February for publishing the story about a 24-year-old man who died of the disease.

State newspaper People’s Daily accused her of “manipulating public emotions” in a now-deleted post.

Having already closed her Weibo account with 2.6 million followers earlier this month, Mimeng has now shut her WeChat account with 14 million followers.

The controversial story concerned the fate of a young man raised in poverty who had struggled to succeed in the workplace, despite graduating from a top university. He later died of cancer.

Several users cast doubt on details in the story before it was condemned by official media organisations, according to the What’s On Weibo website.

Leading news website Ifeng.com wiped all of Mimeng’s previous blog articles as part “crack down on fake information, pessimistic values, cheating for clicks and behaviour that purposely splits society,” state newspaper The Global Times reported.

It also quoted on Mimeng’s apology letter as saying: “We apologise for our wrongdoing. As an influential account, we should take responsibility and pass on positive energy.”

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Mimeng had become one of China’s best-known “self-media” platforms in recent years, a brand made up of blog posts and podcasts mainly about relationships shared via other platforms such as WeChat and Weibo.

Her huge fame had led her to be described as the “queen” of Chinese social media.

The shutting of her platforms comes as the Chinese government makes another push to censor online material deemed inappropriate.

In November the Cyberspace Administration of China said authorities had closed down over 9,800 social media accounts in that began the previous month, according to South China Morning Post.

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