Feb 02 2009

The Xidan Girl (西单女孩) and the human flesh search

Published by at 10:59 pm under China internet

She is called the “Xidan Girl” or “Guitar MM (MM stands for MeiMei, little sister).” Still trying to piece the whole story together but here is the gist:

She started out as something of a music prodigy in a small town in Sichuan playing the Chinese lute and singing.  At 17, the Xidan Girl outgrows her little town and heads for the big city, Beijing.  There she supports herself by playing in the bars and subway of Xidan District.  A typical scene is of of her sitting on a small blue stool playing the guitar.

Internet fame comes when a guy named “Li Er,” who received his notoriety by snapping pictures of girls without them knowing it, takes her photo and posts it in popular forums.  It makes the Net Ease top-10 list in 2007 and a fan club develops around her calling themselves the “stools.”  They even start an online forum dedicated to her.

(Gets fuzzy here) Apparently she tried to get into the Beijing School of Advanced Contemporary Music and hit a snag; afterward, she no longer went to the subway to play or sing.  This sent her fan club into a “human flesh search engine” frenzy trying to find her true identity.  They formed the “Surreptitious Picture Taking Organization” and held a meeting at Sanlitun in Beijing.

All the internet buzz lands her a meeting with an entertainment company but no word on the outcome.  In September of 2007, Jiang Hanning (her real name) starts attending an unidentified music school in Beijing.

Her name appeared at the top of Baidu today and there are also some news articles with video of her singing.  Compared to most of the human flesh engine search stories, this one appears to have a somewhat happy ending…so far.

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