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A portrait of the Premier as a young man

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Wen Jiabao, poignantly alone.

A number of recent pictures of Wen Jiabao have made a splash on China's discussion forums. Sharp-eyed netizens have discovered that he wears a decade-old overcoat, holds his own umbrella, and weeps freely at the plight of the common people.

But Wen's not only a frugal leader and a selfless civil servant — it turns out he was quite the dreamboat in his youth! The image at left, and several other old photographs, were posted to a thread on the Tianya BBS in May. The original poster, "26 Degrees Below Zero," confessed to being a Wen Jiabao fan; inspired by the creative names Super Girls fans came up with, she called herself "Eight Treasure Rice Pudding" (; "treasure" appears in Wen's name and "rice" sounds like the English word "fan"). Wen himself was given the cutesy nickname Wen Baobao.

JDM070828wenthrees.jpg
Wen Jiabao, with friends.

But the Premier did not have glamour shots taken at the lakeside — his two friends were removed from the photo and the background was altered to present Wen on his own.

Absent the context of the fan-club thread, these two photos have circulated online amid speculation that Wen's two companions were scrubbed out for political reasons. That might be the case, but it's more appealing to imagine that the PS-work is the doing of someone with a crush, who felt that the other two men simply got in the way.

The original post spawned a comment thread with responses numbering upwards of one thousand. Taiwan's China Times discovered it last weekend and published an article titled "Wen's fans: Young Wen Jiabao looks like Tony Leung" that suggested nicknames for other Chinese politicians: Taotao (Hu Jintao), Lailai (Bo Xilai), Xingxing (Li Zhaoxing), and Jiujiu (Ma Ying-jeou). All that's missing is a Photoshopped Fuwa poster.

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Baobao greets an admirer.

"Taotao," China's paramount leader, was not left out of the Tianya thread. Although he doesn't have Wen's animal magnetism, Hu still has his fans, known as "Assorted Rice" (什饭). Fuzzy scans of archive photos of Hu during his days as a member of a Tsinghua University dance troupe surfaced, as did other images of the President during his days out west.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, and to anyone who's familiar with how the Internet works, the next development should come as no surprise. From the Tianya thread:

selenebb2: There are so many yaoi fangirls on Tianya — does anyone dare to spin somethinga bout Baobao and Taotao, heh heh?

Zongzi of a fallen city: Mod up, and add a line: in fact, this is excellent material for fantasizing. Two people entangled for decades, sometimes in accord and sometimes on the outs, ultimately die in the same year. So forbidden it hurts — an extremely prolonged form of masochism.

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In these photos posted to the thread shortly afterward, Wen and Hu give each other "the look" during this year's congressional sessions, and then share a personal moment.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like anyone's taken up the challenge to write Hu/Wen slash yet — or if they have, it's already been harmonized.

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There are currently 10 Comments for A portrait of the Premier as a young man.

Comments on A portrait of the Premier as a young man

Priceless. I'm cracking up, and my co-workers are wondering what's going on over here. The captions on some of the Tianya photos are hilarious.

its things like this that remind me why I love China so very, very muchly :)

its interesting to note that in the edited Wen Baobao photo (WJB, poignantly alone) they not only removed his friends, but also the mountain in the background... (perhaps a reference to the chai-age of yugongyishan?)

what does this mean, anyone? anyone?

这个网站很不错,敢于发表独到见解.只是报道面太小,栏比较混乱,更新也慢.要是能在中国建一个像CNN那样的网站多好啊.估计我这辈子是等不到了.编辑们,你们继续努力吧,KEEP IT UP! 另外,小心你们被"河蟹(和谐)"了.

taotao and baobao shall never be apart!
remember the most significant bl couple of the world!
楼上你在说什么啊!涛宝、马扁那是那是重量级王道

harmonized 河蟹(和谐) 这个词用的太好了!!!

笑喷...for the word "harmonized "

omg~~~
您居然也上天涯~~~
温总理啊,真是不错的人民公仆啊!

harmonized...很好很强大。。。
哈哈哈啊哈哈哈
同人女的眼睛一闪一闪,哈哈

“天涯上那么多同人女,有没有敢YY一下宝宝和TAOTAO,哈哈哈” -- This is the original comment made by selenebb2. However, "同人女" doesn't mean "like-minded girls". As far as I know, it means the girls who love to read and create homosexuale stories. Well, of course, you can say that they are a bunch of girls with "like mind". ;)

lol,Danwei is a interesting guy(or gay?u know,i'm a "like-minded"girl form tianya 2,haha)
i like the word harmonized......very much2

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