Robin Li—the 41-year-old, American-educated chief executive officer of the Chinese search engine Baidu—has a fan club. And each year at the Baidu World conference in Beijing, the members of the Robin Li fan club come out to get close to the object of their worship. When Li emerges from a dark blue sedan, the fan club mobs him, waving signs and screaming his name while Li poses for pictures with a tight, uncomfortable smile before darting into the building to rehearse his keynote address. The exuberance, club members say later, was coordinated by Baidu. “If I want to know about what happens abroad, I will use Google,” says one of the students. “Baidu’s information is influenced by the government so much.”
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