His name on Sina Weibo is Wang Xiaoshan, a verified account (meaning that he is somewhat famous) with over 618k followers on China’s Twitter-like service. According to his introduction on Weibo, he is an actor, publisher, music planner and column writer. He has long been a fighter against Mengniu, China’s leading dairy product brand which has been at the center of all of China’s milk-related scandals from the melamine milk powder in 2008, milk with excess carcinogenic toxins in 2011 to rumored milk mixed with cow urine this week.
Voices of boycotting Mengniu are often heard ever since 2008, yet Mengniu products sell just as usual. But Wang Xiaoshan is taking it seriously. On May 22, Wang Xiaoshan asked volunteer Weibo users to help make a promotional display video for the boycott. 3 days later, together with fellow netizen under the name of 斯洛丽, they worked out a 1-minute ad titled “Healthy life. Keep away from Mengniu,” calling for consumers to boycott Mengniu products.
The ad was first spotted on a big LED billboard at Dongmen Square in Shenzhen on May 25. The billboard is owned by 梁璐, a media planner in Shenzhen who agreed to play the ad for free.
“Healthy life. Keep away from Mengniu”
“Timeline of Mengniu milk safety scandals
Remember, this is only the tip of an iceberg:
2009, Deluxe OMP (a highend product line under Mengniu) found to have unknown toxins that many cause cancer
2010, 18 students were found poisoned by Mengniu products
2011, 251 students were found poisoned after drinking Mengniu products
2011, Aflatoxin in Mengniu products was found to exceed the stipulated standards by 140%”
“Celebrity endorsers of Mengniu”
“Today, if you don’t boycott Mengniu”
“Tomorrow, you may be killed by it”
“Healthy life. Keep away from Mengniu. The ad will be played on the LED screen at Dongmen Square, Shenzhen starting May 25, 2012. Thanks 斯洛丽 for making the video. Thanks media buyers in Shenzhen. LED billboard owners in other cities, whoever wants to play the ad, please leave a comment to this Weibo post (public ad, I cannot afford to pay, so you will have to play this for free). Thank you.” wrote Wang Xiaoshan.
People are definitely listening. Only minutes after, a netizen under the name of 马逸鉴 from Yunan province said he owned a LED billboard and would like to play the ad – and it’s a big one, comprised of 103 small LED screens, according to 马逸鉴 ‘s response. Then a few hours later, Wang Xiaoshan posted on Weibo that the ad will also be played in Kunming and Xiamen.
Once again, we see the power of Weibo (microblogging) to foster grassroots activism in China. More importantly, more and more Chinese people now see themselves as conscious citizens who have a voice and demand their voices to be heard, online or offline.