Student creates squirrel craze on Chinese campus

Xinhua
Squirrels have become the latest Chinese internet celebrities thanks to an account on microblogging site Sina Weibo featuring the animals.
Xinhua

Squirrels have become the latest Chinese internet celebrities thanks to an account on microblogging site Sina Weibo featuring the animals.

An account named after the squirrels at southwest China's Yunnan University was launched on April 9. The human behind it is Jiang Mingli, a sophomore in archival science at the university.

The account has already received over a million clicks.

"For graduates of our university, I squeak for happiness when you are happy, and I squeak for sorrow when you are sad. If you miss your alma mater, come back and feed me," read one blog entry.

"Squirrels have been on our campus for a long time. They are very popular with tourists, so I opened the account to let more people get to know the cute animals. I also thought it would be fun to have something special to represent our university, like an icon," Jiang said.

Last week, the university celebrated its 95th anniversary.

Jiang also hopes that the account will be a way to keep students and graduates in touch with their alma mater.

"I want it to be an emotional connection for students, particularly after they graduate," he said.

Social media users have delighted in interacting with the account.

"Hello squirrel, did the peacock that showed up several days ago invite you to dinner?" asked Weibo user YNUBB.

"NO!" came the reply, accompanied by three crying emojis.

Jiang publishes two blogs per day in the squirrels' voice. Content includes pictures of squirrels, tips on feeding the animals, and interesting facts about the university.

"I hope the account will be taken care of after my graduation," Jiang said.

The squirrels aren't the only university icons to appear on the microblogging site. There are Weibo accounts named after the wind at a university in Qingdao, the pigeons of Zhejiang Gongshang University and one that personifies a bell at another institution.

The wind account, with more than 23,000 followers, tweets the Chinese character "hu" -- the sound of wind -- every day to indicate how strong the wind is.

Another account named after a bell tower has gained about 400,000 followers since 2010, and it tweets "BONG" every hour to indicate the time.


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