China not a mystery, says Dutch blogger who follows Chinese social media trends

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-14 21:10:05|Editor: Mengjie
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THE HAGUE, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- "I hope to have a role in eliminating the misconception that China is a mystery," said Manya Koetse, a young blogger in the Netherlands who writes about Chinese social media trends.

With a degree in China studies from Leiden University and having lived in Beijing for two years, Koetse started the website "What's on Weibo" in 2014 which now sees some 200,000 visitors every month.

She updates the website almost every day with content ranging from odd news to business trends to in-depth analyses of social phenomena found on platforms such as WeChat and Weibo.

Koetse recently made an appearance in "China's Major-Country Diplomacy," a popular documentary series that displays diplomatic achievements China has made over the past five years.

A short clip of the six-episode series introduced Koetse and her website where she posts English stories of what she discovered in Chinese social media.

"China is playing a more and more important role in the world," she said in the clip filmed in the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam, "I really hope I can become a Western window on Chinese culture."

In an interview with Xinhua, Koetse said the series on China's diplomacy was "nicely done" and marked "an important moment in the history of China as a changing nation" with a "very important role".

Considering what she has done as only "a very little tiny part" of diplomacy, Koetse believes that "diplomacy doesn't only happen between politicians or governments, it also happens between people online."

Branding herself as a "China social trend watcher," Koetse focuses more on the "multidimensional image" of China reflected on social media, adding that "there's no other country in the world where you have such a digital revolution as in China right now, really changing people's lives."

"I always look at China from the bottom up, from the grassroots -- what's happening on Chinese social media, what people are saying, then from there I look at what it means in the bigger picture," she explained.

For her, social media is a "barometer" and "a finger on the pulse" on what's happening in the Chinese society, hence observing social media is "a very important angle."

There is a "big misconception" of China in the West, where media portray China only in "one dimension," said Koetse, adding that "they think it's like a different world, a different planet, but no, China is not a mystery. It's not that different."