News of Hugo Chavez’s death generated more than 1000 comments on Weibo, China’s Twitter-Facebook hybrid, within the first hour of being reported. This is a record for Latin America-related news on the very popular social media site. Opinions of the Venezuelan leader among China’s bloggers are clearly divided. Some expressed great sorrow at the loss of Chavez, whom they describe as an “anti-US soldier.” Others celebrated the demise of a notorious dictator. One blogger in particular expressed pity for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the loss of a yet another dictator friend. Others worry that Chinese trade with Venezuela will be negatively affected by Chavez’s departure. Still others recalled Chavez’s noble efforts to reduce poverty and improve education quality in Venezuela, although posts along these lines were criticized as being written by Chinese Communist Party members.

One blogger made an interesting comparison between Chavez and Yuan Shikai, who attempted to install himself as “Great Emperor of China” in 1915. The blogger states: “Chavez finally realized his dream of being emperor of Venezuela by abolishing term limits for the presidency. But Chavez never even assumed this “emperor” status — even Yuan Shikai was emperor for 83 days!” or “查韦斯还来不及做“皇帝”就一命呜呼哀哉了。袁世凯做皇帝还做了83天呢.

Bloggers also mentioned President Obama, congratulating him for the death of Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong Il and Chavez.