A "Mystery" microblogger who has been posting exclusive photographs of Xi Jinping says she is just a "normal office worker" who takes a keen interest in the Party chief's activities.
A microblog account on weibo.com called the "Xue Xi Fans Club" - a pun meaning fans of study and fans of Xi - has so far published 207 photos recording Xi's daily activities.
By yesterday afternoon, the account had attracted more than 300,000 followers.
The microblog refers to Xi as "Xi Dada," which means "Uncle Xi" in the Shaanxi dialect.
Some of the photos seem to have been taken on cellphones by people close to Xi.
The photographs soon aroused the curiosity of the mainstream media with China Central Television's official microblog asking: "What's up? The Xue Xi Fans Club is reporting faster and closer than us."
The microblogger, who said she was a female located in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, posted a response yesterday.
"I'm a normal netizen and a normal office worker. I'm on a winter vacation so I have the time to pay close attention to Xi's activities," she wrote.
"I'm not a Party member or an official. And I have totally nothing to do with Xi's team."
She said some of the pictures she uploaded were collected from Chinese media, while her "exclusive" photographs were taken by her followers. She said she always delayed publication out of safety concerns.
The microblog was started to bring fans of Xi across the country together so they could have discussions, she said.
Of the public reaction to the microblog, she said: "Some support the fans club while some don't. I want to state that I have the rights to be a fan of anyone. Presidents in other countries, such as Obama and Putin, all have their own fan clubs."
The microblog has sparked widespread discussion among China's online community.
Some said they believed the account was operated by guards or even Xi's relatives.
But one said: "Whoever is operating the account, I think it comes from a good will to pull Chinese top officials closer to the citizens."
Earlier, the account published a photo showing Xi yawning with the caption: "He's too tired after hurrying around for days in his inspection tour in Gansu Province. He traveled a whole day yesterday from the villages to the city last night. We young people cannot bear traveling an entire day, let alone a 60-year-old man. Take care of yourself, Xi Dada."