Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has done nothing to hide his ambition of getting the company back into China, but his latest move is drawing accusations of, well, brown nosing.
That's because of this photo appearing on a Chinese-government-controlled website. It shows a copy of President Xi Jinping's book, "The Governance of China," conveniently sitting on Zuckerberg's desk when China's head Internet regulator toured Facebook's California campus last week.
"The Governance of China" is a collection of 79 speeches, interviews and talks given by Xi. It's described as providing insight into China's current foreign and domestic policies, but Quartz says it comes off more as "wooden propaganda."
Zuckerberg is quoted on the Chinese site saying: "I've also bought copies of this book for my colleagues. I want them to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics."
Currently, Facebook is on the wrong side of China's notorious Internet restrictions. The site has been banned in the country since 2009, and Instagram, another Facebook company, was blocked during the recent anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Zuckerberg seems to be wooing the censors with a charm offensive; he made headlines in October when he spoke decent Mandarin during an interview in front of a Beijing university audience.
Mandarin is known for being extremely difficult to learn, so Zuckerberg was generally praised for taking on such a challenge in an attempt to earn favor for his company. But the book move isn't getting as cheerful a response.
The Washington Post writes, given the state of China's Internet, "The sight of Xi's book on a tech tycoon's table has been taken as hypocritical and absurd by many observers."
It's a view shared by an anti-Beijing activist who told The Telegraph: "Zuckerberg is an internet genius. ... Yet his understanding of Chinese politics is like that of a three-year-old not a 30-year-old."
And That's Magazine reimagines Zuck as a Mao-era Chinese soldier faithfully gripping Xi's book in a propaganda poster.
For all the mockery, it's clear Zuckerberg desperately wants to curry favor with the Chinese government. If he's successful and Facebook returns to the country, it will have access to another 640 million Internet users ... and potential targets of ads.
Zuckerberg's 'brown nosing' move to get back into China?
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., walks with his wife Priscilla Chan while arriving for a morning session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 11, 2013. Executives from media, finance and politics mingle at the mountain resort between presentations on business trends and social issues, brought together by New York investment banker Herb Allen. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FILE - In this July 9, 2011, file photo, Mark Zuckerberg, president and CEO of Facebook, walks with Priscilla Chan during the 2011 Allen and Co. Sun Valley Conference, in Sun Valley, Idaho. Zuckerberg and his wife, Chan, were the most generous American philanthropists in 2013, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, with a donation of 18 million Facebook shares, valued at more than $970 million, given to a Silicon Valley nonprofit in December. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Das undatierte Handoutfoto zeigt den Facebook-Gruender Mark Zuckerberg und Priscilla Chan bei ihrer Hochzeitsfeier in Palo Alto (USA). Mark Zuckerberg verbringt seine Flitterwochen in Rom. Der 28-Jaehrige und seine frisch angetraute Ehefrau Priscilla Chan (27) seien nach ihrer Hochzeit in Kalifornien nach Italien gereist, berichtete die Onlineausgabe der US-Zeitschrift "Us Weekly". (zu dapd-Text)
Foto: Allyson Magda/Allyson Magda Photography via Facebook/dapd
File - In this April 30, 2014 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gestures while delivering the keynote address at the f8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating $120 million over the next five years to the San Francisco Bay Areaâs public school system. The gift is the biggest allocation to date of the more than $1 billion in Facebook stock the couple pledged last year to the nonprofit Silicon Valley Community Foundation. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, file)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JULY 01: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are seen out in Manhattan on July 01, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
This picture taken on December 25, 2011 shows Facebook's founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg (2nd L) and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan (2nd R) during their private trip to Ha Long Bay in the northeastern province of Quuang Ninh. The young billionaire and his girlfriend who are the target of local media reportedly arrived to Hanoi on December 22, 2011. They are on December 26, 2011 visiting the northern mountainous tourist site of Sapa, according to local media saying the couple received a two-week long Vietnamese tourist visa. AFP PHOTO /Gia Dinh Xa Hoi Newspaper (Photo credit should read Gia Dinh Xa Hoi/AFP/Getty Images)