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King of the silver screen

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影帝 (yǐngdì): movie star

Wen Jiabao wins for “best actor.”

Former prime minister Wen Jiabao is often called a “movie star” in a nod to his many “performances” in photo opportunities with ordinary people, especially at disaster zones. His charisma and expressions of concern for the downtrodden made Wen extremely popular. However, critics perceived his words and actions as disingenuous and serving to conceal the repressive nature of the Party.

In 2010, democracy activist Yu Jie published the book China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao (中国影帝温家宝), more literally translated China’s Movie Star: Wen Jiabao. Yu was detained by the police before publication in Hong Kong. He fled to the U.S. in January 2012 under threat of being “buried alive” without a trace.

After the April 2013 Sichuan earthquake, Wen’s successor, Li Keqiang, was photographed eating instant noodles in a tent and viewing the damage with local officials. Now he is China’s “movie star.”

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