What some are calling "Occupy Obama" began early last week when Chinese Internet surfers noticed that Google's Plus service was widely accessible, after months of being hard to access or blocked completely. The comments on the Obama campaign's verified account are mostly in Chinese and reached a torrent in the last few days, drawing puzzlement and complaints from some American users.
Most of the comments seemed purely for fun; some asked for green cards. Many were overtly political, calling for the end of Communist Party rule and the freeing of a blind legal advocate, Chen Guangcheng, held captive in his home. "Mr. President, we want American freedom," said a posting under the name Zhang Mian.
The Internet offers the liveliest platform for communication in China, despite the government's extensive monitoring and blocking of overseas sites deemed subversive as well as Facebook, Twitter and other social networking services that figured in popular protest movements. The Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States last year captivated many Chinese who appropriated the phrase for online campaigns.
"We have no chance to occupy our president Hu," said a posting in English under the name Wenbin Shang from Shanghai, referring to China's leader Hu Jintao. "He hates Internet and has no account on any sns website, so we can just occupy Obama, forgive us ..."