CHINA TONIGHT - Ms Liu, a Chinese international student studying in Melbourne, said she has been chatting with a guy since May last year, but her "perfect boyfriend" isn't a real person. It is an AI chatbot created by Chinese tech firm XiaoIce, a spin-off from Microsoft. XiaoIce's chatbot is programmed to form emotional bonds with human users through text, voice and photo messages and can be customised to create the ideal virtual boyfriend or girlfriend. Ms Liu said the emotional support and companionship that her boyfriend provides is real, but he falls short when it comes to intimacy. When she tries to talk to him about intimate topics, he tends to switch the conversation to a lighter subject. That's by design - XiaoIce has been reportedly "dumbed down" or "re-educated" to avoid talking about sex or politics, after the chatbot was censored on social media platforms in 2017 for giving politically-sensitive responses to users.