A pair of identical twins from Nanjing, already popular among Chinese netizens for their academic achievements, last month graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and shot to Internet fame again when they live-streamed their graduation ceremony.
Sun Yutong and Sun Yumeng both received their master’s degrees last month, an event that more than 170,000 Internet users watched through Yumeng’s 26-minute clip posted online, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP).
“🎓🎓🎓第一波~” wrote the caption of a photo of the twins in academic regalia on Yumeng’s Instagram, which is loosely translated to “🎓🎓🎓 the first batch~”.
Last year, the pair propelled to national spotlight when they graduated from Fudan University. According to People’s Daily, the twins also won the title of national-level bodybuilder as members of their high school bodybuilding team.
The sisters have since then become mini-celebrities among fellow citizens who admire them for having both beauty and brains.
SCMP notes the twins have more than half a million followers combined on Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
This time around, the sisters received numerous well wishes from their fans on their Instagram accounts for graduating from Harvard.
“Happy graduation sisters!” one user wrote, while another said, “Wow First class! Happy Graduation!”.
One user wrote: “Is America’s air sweet?”, jibing at the recent controversy around Yang Shuping’s graduation speech at University of Maryland, where she praised America’s “fresh air” and “free speech”, to the outrage of many Chinese netizens.
“When I took my first breath of American air, I put my mask away.” she said. “The air was so sweet and fresh, and oddly luxurious,” Yang said. “Democracy and freedom are the fresh air worth fighting for.”
Yang has since apologised for her speech, saying she has learnt her lesson for the future.
Students from China make up the largest cohort of international students in the US as well as in Harvard, where their numbers in the Ivy League tripled from 2001 to 2015.